Legendary UNLV Coach Jerry Tarkanian Dies at 84

Jerry Tarkanian, UNLV

Legendary UNLV Coach Jerry Tarkanian Dies at 84

Hoops icon led Runnin' Rebels to 1990 NCAA title.

Published February 11, 2015

Days after the basketball community lost Dean Smith, they're mourning the loss of another hoops coach legend.

Jerry Tarkanian, who was best known for coaching the rugged UNLV Runnin' Rebels from 1973-1992, died Wednesday morning after battling a respiratory issue in a Las Vegas hospital. He was 84 years old. His son, Danny Tarkanian, broke the news over Twitter

"Coach Tark, my father, the greatest man I have ever known, passed today, to take his place in heaven. I will miss him every day of my life," he tweeted.

"Tark the Shark" infamously led the Runnin' Rebels to the 1990 NCAA Tournament title game, where they stomped all over Duke to become national champions. They would follow up that campaign by going undefeated during the 1990-91 regular season before losing to eventual champion Duke in the 1991 NCAA Tournament semifinals.

His star players from that team — such as Larry Johnson, Stacey Augmon, Greg Anthony and George Ackles — were all selected in the 1991 NBA Draft as first-round picks, LJ being the top selection overall.

Tarkanian was equally known for his notorious battles with the NCAA, who he felt was trying to drive him out of UNLV and possibly coaching college basketball altogether. Before the 1976-77 NCAA season, the league placed Tark on two years probation for what they deemed were "questionable practices." Twenty-plus years later in 1998, the NCAA agreed to pay Tarkanian $2.5 million after he filed a lawsuit against the league claiming it was conspiring to have him kicked out of UNLV.

When he retired in 2002, Tarkanian had compiled a 729-201 record through 31 years. Included in that was the 509-105 mark he had with UNLV.

Tarkanian was admitted to the hospital Monday and was valiantly fighting his respiratory ailment before passing Wednesday. 

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(Photo: Charles Rex Arbogast, File/AP Photo)

Written by BET-Staff


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