Former Memphis Grizzlies Head Coach Tony Barone Sr. Dies at 72

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistJune 26, 2019

Memphis Grizzlies head coach Tony Barone directs his team in the third quarter of the Denver Nuggets' 115-98 victory in an NBA basketball game in Denver on Monday, Jan. 22, 2007. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
David Zalubowski/Associated Press

Former Memphis Grizzlies head coach Tony Barone Sr. died Tuesday at the age of 72.

His son, Tony Barone Jr., confirmed the news to Geoff Calkins of the Daily Memphian.

Ronald Tillery @CAGrizBeat

Join me in celebrating the life of former Griz exec Tony Barone Sr. Just got a text from Jr. telling me that Sr. has died. Tony Sr. was an honest, hard-working and loyal man. A Chicago native and Cubs fan like me. His strong basketball mind allowed him to live the dream. Godspeed https://t.co/fdShGxreRC

Barone was named the Grizzlies' interim head coach during the 2006-07 season after the dismissal of Mike Fratello. He guided the team to a 16-36 record across 52 games after spending the previous two years as the NBA franchise's director of player personnel.

Andy Tylicki @atylicki

Coach Tony Barone is one of the most amazing individuals that I have known. May he Rest In Peace. He is one incredible person that has impacted many. So much love Coach!! https://t.co/dQcuwuRxrl

The Chicago native spent three seasons as a reserve guard at Duke from 1965 through 1968. He returned to the Blue Devils program in 1972 as an assistant, but not before he went home to his alma mater, St. George High School, to fill a multifaceted role.

"I coached football, basketball, ran the intramural program and ran the bookstore," Barone said, per Calkins. "I was making $6,500 a year and I thought I was a millionaire."

After a stint as an assistant at Bradley, he took his first head coaching job in the collegiate ranks with Creighton in 1985.

He led the Bluejays to a 102-82 record, highlighted by a 24-8 mark in his final year with the program, and two NCAA tournament appearances across six seasons.

Brent Zwerneman @BrentZwerneman

A wonderful man to cover at Texas A&M, Tony Barone, a tremendous sense of humor and so passionate about his job, has passed away. The former Aggies basketball coach (1991-98) was 72.

Texas A&M hired Barone away from Creighton in 1991, but he was unable to coach the Aggies to any March Madness berths in seven years.

Barone was inducted into the Chicagoland Sports Hall of Fame in 2007.