Former Creighton men's basketball coach Tony Barone, 72, dies

(Courtesy photo / Creighton University)
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) -- Creighton University and alumni everywhere are mourning Tony Barone, former men's basketball coach at Creighton University, who died Tuesday at age 72.

He is survived by his wife Kathy and children Tony Jr., Kathy and Brian.

"Tony Barone made a tremendous impact on Creighton Athletics and the young men within our men's basketball program," the Creighton athletics department said in a release. "We are saddened by his death and are thinking of Kathy, Tony Jr., Amy and Brian and the rest of the Barone family during this time."

Barone started his coaching career at Duke University, his alma mater, in 1972; then served as assistant coach at Bradley University before heading to Omaha.

As head coach of the Bluejays from 1985 to 1991, earning a 102-82 record across six seasons and leading the team to two NCAA Tournaments and the team's first tournament win since the 1970s. Barone's team also made it to the NIT in the 1989-90 season after three straight 20-win seasons — an unprecedented accomplishment for Bluejays baseball at the time.

Under Barone's leadership, the team won MVC regular-season and tournament titles in both the 1988-89 and 1990-91 seasons, and he was honored as MVC Coach of the Year in 1988-89.

Barone left Omaha in 1991, when he was hired as Texas A&M head coach, wrapping up his career in college basketball in 1998 with 178 Division I victories.

He joined the NBA's Memphis Grizzlies as the team's director of player personnel and was named interim coach for 52 games during the 2006-07 season.

Barone was inducted into the Creighton Athletics Hall of Fame in 2015.