Former UT Coach Tommy Bartlett passes away at 88, multi-sport athlete

Vols loss gives Billy Donovan his 500th win

KNOXVILLE (WATE) – The University of Tennessee announced the passing of former UT coach Tommy Bartlett.

Bartlett passed away Wednesday in Chattanooga at the age of 88-years-old. Not only a two-sport coach for UT, he was also a two-sport letterman, team captain and SEC champion.

“Tommy Bartlett was a tremendous competitor,” longtime UTAD administrator Gus Manning said. “He was a good little guard for Coach Lowery, and he was a heck of a tennis player, too. And he was always a really nice guy.”

He was born in Homersville, Georgia and was raised in Knoxville. Bartlett graduated from Knoxville High School. He played for the Vols basketball team from 1949-1952. He averaged 10.9 points during his 40-game career. He became the team captain during his senior year, 1951-1952. He was a member of the SEC All-Tournament Team in 1952. He was a member of the U.S. Marine Corps from 1946-1948.

Not only was he a basketball player at UT, he was a member of the Vols tennis team. He was captain during the team’s first SEC team title in 1951. He won six SEC individual titles and never lost a match during his three-year career.

He graduated from the university in 1952 with a degree in health and physical education.

He coached the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga men’s basketball team from 1958-1962. From 1962-1963, he was the Vols freshman basketball coach and became a varsity assistant coach a year later. Bartlett was the UT men’s tennis coach from 1963-1966. He led the team to its second SEC title and was SEC Coach of the Year. He helped recruit All-American Lenny Schloss.

Bartlett became UTC’s head coach for the men’s and women’s tennis teams in 1979 after being the head men’s basketball coach at the University of Florida for seven years. He led the UTC men’s team to eight Southern Conference titles and the women’s team to five league titles. Also, he led the women’s team to three consecutive NCAA Division II Championships from 1983-1985. While he was at Florida, he led the men’s basketball team to earn its first-ever national ranking and helped them advance to the NIT in 1969.

Also, he coached the boys’ tennis team at Dandridge High School, boys’ basketball team at Lenoir City High School and the men’s basketball team at Carson-Newman University.

He was inducted into the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame in 1986, the ITA Men’s Tennis Hall of Fame in 1993 and the University of Tennessee Tennis Hall of Fame in 2009.

Bartlett will be buried at the Chattanooga National Cemetery. Funeral details are pending.

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