Texas A&M Basketball

Former Texas A&M basketball coach Tony Barone dies at 72

June 26, 2019
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Note: Press play above to hear Joe Wilbert, who played for Barone at A&M, talk about his mentor and coach.

Former Texas A&M basketball coach Tony Barone passed away on Tuesday. Barone, 72, had been fighting cancer for several years.

A fiery coach with a rough exterior, the Chicago native was popular among players but struggled to lift a Texas A&M program that was hampered by NCAA sanctions and outdated facilities.

Barone, who was hired away from Creighton in 1991 to replace the fired Kermit Davis, coached A&M from 1991-98. The Aggies were 76-120 in Barone’s tenure. They went 19-11 in 1993-94 and participated in the National Invitation Tournament, A&M’s only postseason appearance in a 14-year stretch.

Barone faced significant obstacles in trying to rebuild the program that had previously had success under Shelby Metcalf.

A&M was facing two years of NCAA probation and reduced scholarships for violations incurred under Davis. Also, G. Rollie White Coliseum, A&M’s home court, was old and cramped, which made recruiting difficult.

Barone was promised a new arena would be constructed. However, Reed Arena was not built until after Barone was fired in 1998 following a 7-20 season.

After his departure from Texas A&M, Barone worked in several capacities for the Memphis Grizzlies. He started and ended his time in Memphis as director of player personnel, and he was appointed interim head coach by Jerry West after Mike Fratello was fired in December 2006.

The Grizzlies praised Barone for his professional contributions and personal character in a statement:

Tony was a consummate pro, a sharp basketball mind and a great family man. Whether as a front office executive or on the sidelines as our Head Coach, Tony’s determination, passion for Grizzlies’ basketball and love for Memphis was a true embodiment of All-Heart, Grit & Grind. Our deepest sympathies are with the entire Barone family at this time as we mourn the passing of our friend and coach, Tony Barone Sr.

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Former Texas A&M basketball coach Tony Barone dies at 72

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