Larry Finch

Larry Finch (1951-2011)

Teams coached: Memphis State/Memphis Tigers
Memphis State/Memphis record: 220-130 (.629)
Overall record: 220-130 (.629)

Career Accomplishments:


Coaching Career (head coach, unless noted):

1986-1997 Memphis State/Memphis
1979-1986 Memphis State (asst)
1978-1979 UAB (asst)

Larry Finch Facts

  • Larry O. Finch
  • Born February 16, 1951
  • Died April 2, 2011
  • Hometown: Memphis, Tennessee
  • Alma Mater: Memphis State University (BA, 1973)
  • After starring at Melrose HS in Memphis, Finch elected to played for Gene Bartow and his hometown Memphis State Tigers
    • Earned Missouri Valley POY honors in 1972 and a year later helped lead the Tigers to the 1973 Final Four
    • Left Memphis in 1973 as the program’s all-time leading scorer and later had his number #21 retired by the school
    • Drafted in the 4th round (68th overall) of the 1973 NBA Draft by the Los Angeles Lakers but instead played for the Memphis Tams (later Memphis Sounds) of the ABA for two seasons
  • Began his coaching career in 1978, working as an assistant under Bartow at UAB
  • Returned to his alma mater in 1979, spending seven seasons as an assistant under Tigers’ head coach Dana Kirk
  • In 1986, after Kirk was forced to leave amidst NCAA violations and a criminal investigation, Finch took over as the head coach
    • Won 220 games in eleven seasons at the helm, going to the postseason nine times (6 NCAA, 3 NIT)
      • Was the 1987 Metro Tournament champ in his first season, but the Tigers were ineligible for postseason play as a result of violations under Kirk
    • Recruited and coached a number of future NBA players, including Elliot Perry, Lorenzen Wright and Penny Hardaway
    • After going to the Sweet Sixteen twice in four seasons, the Tigers saw less success in their first two seasons of C-USA play and Finch was asked to resign from his post
      • Left Memphis as the all-time winningest head coach in program history
  • Suffered a stroke in 2002 and experienced numerous health issues until his death in April 2011
    • Survived by his wife, Vicki, has one daughter and two sons

Larry Finch Coaching Tree