Mountain West Mourns Loss of Jerry Tarkanian


Hall of Fame men's basketball coach Jerry Tarkanian passed away in Las Vegas on Wednesday. He was 84.

Tarkanian, a former Fresno State student-athlete, coached at UNLV from 1973-92 and returned to his alma mater to close out his coaching career from 1995-2002. In recognition of his achievements on the sideline, he was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in September 2013, becoming the first UNLV or Fresno State coach or player to be enshrined.

Born Aug. 8, 1930, in Euclid, Ohio, Tarkanian earned an associate of arts degree from Pasadena City College in California before transferring to Fresno State, where he played basketball for the Bulldogs from 1954-55. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1955 and later earned a master's degree in educational management from the University of Redlands.

Tarkanian achieved several milestones throughout his 31-year career as a head coach, including:

  • Compiled a Division I coaching record of 729-201 including stops at Long Beach State, UNLV and Fresno State. Achieved a career win percentage of .784, which ranks 10th all-time in NCAA history
  • Became the second-fastest coach to reach 700 career wins in NCAA history, behind only Kentucky's Adolph Rupp
  • Posted 17 consecutive 20-win seasons and 29 in his 31 seasons at the Division I level, averaging 25.3 wins per season during that span
  • Led UNLV to the 1990 NCAA championship title after the Runnin' Rebels defeated Duke, 103-73, setting a record margin of victory in a national men's basketball championship game
  • Led UNLV to nine top 10-finishes in wire-service polls (1976-77, 1983, 1985-87, 1990-92)
  • Coached 42 NBA draft picks, including 12 first-round selections
  • Won 11 regular-season conference championships, seven tournament championships and made 12 NCAA Tournament appearances, including a string of nine straight – all at UNLV
  • Led UNLV to four Final Fours (1977, 1987, 1990, 1991) and Fresno State to seven straight postseason appearances. Owned a 38-18 record in 18 NCAA tournament appearances
  • In 1983, was named National Coach of the Year by the United Press International

Tarkanian is survived by his wife, Fresno State alum and Las Vegas City Councilwoman Lois Tarkanian, as well as four children and seven grandchildren. Both the campuses of UNLV and Fresno State are planning events to honor Tarkanian's legacy. Each institution will announce those details soon.

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