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Statements on passing of Memphis basketball icon Larry Finch

MEMPHIS, April 2, 2011 - The Grizzlies issued the following statements on the passing of Memphis basketball icon Larry Finch earlier today.

Gene Bartow, President of Hoops LP and former head coach of the Memphis Tigers team that played in the 1973 national title game against UCLA

"In addition to having the utmost respect for Larry as a player and a coach, he was also one of the finest people I’ve ever been around. My heart goes out to Vickie and the children. I’m asked a lot about who was the greatest player I ever coached, and I always have the same answer: Larry Finch. Larry helped provide the roots for this city’s wonderful basketball tradition, and his contributions to Memphis were immense. He will be missed."

Elliot Perry, Grizzlies limited partner and radio analyst who played under Larry Finch for the Memphis Tigers

"First of all, I’d like to let Coach Finch’s family know that my thoughts and prayers are with them at this time. Coach Finch was one of the biggest influences in my life. Playing for Coach Finch at Memphis was a perfect scenario for me. He helped shape me as a basketball player, but more importantly into the person that I am today."

Chris Wallace, Grizzlies General Manager and Vice President of Basketball Operations

"Larry Finch is an iconic figure in the rich history of Memphis basketball. First as a star at Melrose High School, then as the leader of the Gene Bartow coached 1973 Tiger team that reached the national championship game, as a pro player and as an assistant and finally the head coach for the University of Memphis, no luminary shined brighter in the constellation of stars which have made Memphis basketball so special. As a person, he touched countless hearts and made an even bigger contribution. The Grizzlies and the entire Memphis basketball community mourns his passing today while celebrating his life and work. Our prayers and thoughts go out to his family, friends, former teammates and players."