Former A&M men's basketball coach Tony Barone passes away at 72

BRYAN, Texas (KBTX) -- Tony Barone Sr. was the men's head basketball coach at Texas A&M for seven seasons in the 1990s and it was reported by the Daily Memphian and his son Brian Barone that the elder Barone had lost his battle with lung cancer Wednesday morning.

Coach Barone took over the men's basketball program in 1991 following Kermit Davis Junior who left after being found guilty of lying to investigators in the midst of an NCAA investigation concerning recruiting violations.

Barone had barely started cleaning things up in Aggieland when the NCAA cut the program's scholarships.

Despite the set back Barone, who only won 6 games his first season, was able to guide the Aggies to the NIT Tournament in 1994.

That year the Aggies finished 19 and 6. It was Barone's best during his 7 seasons. He was let go after the 1998 campaign.

Tony jumped up to the NBA after his dismissal and was involved with the Memphis Grizzlies for several years even serving as their interim head coach for a while.

Joe Wilbert played a couple of years for Coach Barone at A&M and remembered his old coach fondly who didn't allow less than your best on the court or in the classroom.

Joe defended his coach after an emotional win in Lubbock during his junior year in 1994 landing a punch on a Red Raider fan as the team was trying to leave the court.

Wilbert added that while Coach Barone didn't have a lot of success at A&M. The former Duke player and assistant coach was probably the best X's and O's coach he ever had.