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.
Share your comments and memories of Coach Tarkanian in your social media accounts using #Tark.
Jerry Tarkanian dies at 84. Two of his former teams, UNLV and Fresno State, played each other Tuesday night (@UNLVathletics won 73-61).— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) February 11, 2015
UNLV offers a touching tribute to the late Jerry Tarkanian. pic.twitter.com/ncGsKHRE7n— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) February 11, 2015
Sad day for college athletics in the Silver State and the college hoops world. Our thoughts are with UNLV today. #RIPTark— Nevada Wolf Pack (@NevadaWolfPack) February 11, 2015
RIP Coach Tark. Next home games for Fresno State and UNLV will both be against the Broncos. Looking forward to touching tributes.— Boise State Men's BB (@BroncoSportsMBB) February 11, 2015
RIP Tark the Shark. There will never be another like you.— Seth Davis (@SethDavisHoops) February 11, 2015
Tark's 1990 team still owns the greatest margin of victory in an NCAA men's basketball final pic.twitter.com/cLsaETAf4d— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) February 11, 2015
RIP Jerry Tarkanian. Great coach, really good man. A true Hall of Famer.— Jay Bilas (@JayBilas) February 11, 2015
"When Vegas was good, all the kids idolized them." - George Lynch, North Carolina (1989–1993) pic.twitter.com/23qwLzEayn— Campus Insiders (@CampusInsiders) February 11, 2015
RIP Tark the shark! One of a kind. So glad he was inducted into the Hall!!!— Steve Lappas (@stlappas) February 11, 2015
No one could ever claim Tark's teams were unwatchable. 75-76 team AVERAGED 110 points a game with no three-point line. Let that soak in.— Fran Fraschilla (@franfraschilla) February 11, 2015
Tark, RIP. His players and colleagues loved him. Back in the day, this novelty song had its 15 min. https://t.co/70GUQIS4Ol— Bob Ley (@BobLeyESPN) February 11, 2015
RIP-Legend Love to Tark's family pic.twitter.com/0jzNleZiLF— Kenny Mayne (@Kenny_Mayne) February 11, 2015
we loved you Tark #UNLV— Jimmy Kimmel (@jimmykimmel) February 11, 2015
Our condolences to Jerry Tarkanian family. Hard to believe CBB has lost 2 of top 10 winningest coaches in matter of days. 1608 combined W's— Carolina Basketball (@UNC_Basketball) February 11, 2015