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THE gene bartow AWARD

Georgia State’s Ron Hunter is the recipient of the 2018 Gene Bartow award, which is presented annually to a coach for this outstanding contributions to the game.

April 5, 2018


BOSTON, MA  -- Georgia State’s Ron Hunter is the recipient of the 2018 Gene Bartow award.

Hunter is recognized for his outstanding work with Samaritan’s Feet, which helps to provide shoe’s for children all over the world.

“Anyone who knows me understands why Samaritan’s Feet has become such a huge part of my life,” Hunter said in an interview in January. “What we are doing is impacting the lives of millions of children and as much as the shoes mean to them, the hope that we are giving them is even more valuable. Hope is a powerful thing.”

For the past 12 years Hunter has worked to raise money and awareness for the 300 million children around the world who live without shoes every day. He has walked the walk on the court as well, coaching one game each season without shoes.

“As coaches, we are also teachers,” said Hunter. “And during the four or five years that we have these young men in our program, we need to teach them that the world is about more than basketball. It is how can we help others with the platform we have to make the world a better place.”

Part of that has been traveling to different parts of the world to distribute shoes and hope during the summer. Since Hunter’s arrival at Georgia State, that Panthers have been to South Africa, Costa Rica and most recently the Dominican Republic to work with Samaritan’s Feet. Plans are in the works to take the team on another trip this August and distribute thousands of pairs of shoes and hope to those who may not have either when they wake up in the morning.

Samaritan’s Feet serves and inspires hope in children by providing shoes as the foundation to a spiritual and healthy life resulting in the advancement of education and economic opportunities. Since its' founding in 2003, Samaritan’s Feet and its partners have distributed over 6.5 million pairs of shoes in 91 countries and 366 U.S. cities.

Hunter is 12-0 in games when he coaches without shoes for Samaritan’s Feet. .

The Gene Bartow award recognizes outstanding achievement and contributions to the game.

Bartow spent 36 years as a head coach, posting a 647-353 record.  He led Memphis State to the 1973 NCAA championship game, losing to UCLA in St. Louis, the last in the Bruinsí streak of seven straight titles. After leaving Memphis to coach at the University of Illinois, Bartow succeeded legendary UCLA coach John Wooden at UCLA in 1975. In two seasons at UCLA, Bartowís Bruins had a 52-9 won-lost record and reached the 1976 NCAA Final Four.

Then, following the 1976-77 season, Bartow departed UCLA to start a basketball program at the University of Alabama Birmingham as both head coach and director of athletics. He served at UAB for 18 years, leading the Blazers to the National Invitation Tournament in the program's second year of existence. Overall, he guided UAB to seven straight NCAA tournament berths, reaching the Sweet 16 in 1981 and the Elite Eight in 1982. 

While at UAB, Bartow became the winningest coach in Sun Belt Conference history with 111 career Sun Belt wins.  In 2005 Bartow was honored as the all-time Sun Belt Menís Basketball Coach during the leagueís celebration of its 30th anniversary. 

In 1996, Bartow retired from coaching and UAB honored him by naming its basketball facility Bartow Arena the following year. Most recently, the 81-year old Bartow was the president of Hoops LP, the parent company of the NBAís Memphis Grizzlies and the FedEx Forum.

Georgia State Sports Communications Director, Mike Holmes contributed to this release.





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