| Wins against Kentucky - 0 | Losses against Kentucky - 3 |
Alma Mater: Fresno State 
Hometown: Pasadena, CA
Date Born: August 8, 1930
Date Died: February 14, 2015
Overall Record: 729-201 [31 Seasons]
|3/16/1985||Kentucky vs. UNLV||W||64 - 61||NCAA West Regional Second Round (at Salt Lake City, UT)|
|2/17/1980||Kentucky at UNLV||W||74 - 69||-|
|3/4/1978||UNLV at Kentucky||W||92 - 70||-|
Obituary - New York Times (February 11, 2015)
Jerry Tarkanian, 84, N.C.A.A. Foe and College Basketball Force, Diesby Richard Goldstein
Jerry Tarkanian, who built Nevada-Las Vegas into a national powerhouse in college basketball with an insatiable will to win, created the persona of Tark the Shark and ignited a long-running feud with the N.C.A.A. over accusations that he ran outlaw programs at three universities, died on Wednesday in Las Vegas. He was 84.
His son Danny announced his death via Twitter.
Tarkanian was taken to Valley Hospital Medical Center in Las Vegas on Monday with low blood pressure and an infection, The Las Vegas Review-Journal reported. He had a second heart attack in April 2014 and was treated for pneumonia in November.
Tarkanian was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass., in September 2013, two months after he had heart surgery. His induction speech, read largely by his wife, Lois, was recorded in advance. He spoke briefly, in a weak voice, when he appeared on stage at the ceremony, using a walker.
Tarkanian was one of the college game's most successful and colorful coaches in his 19 seasons at U.N.L.V., a baldheaded, sunken-eyed presence on the bench known for nervously chewing on towels during games. In his 31 years as a major college coach, he won more than 700 games, fashioning a high-scoring running game to go with smothering defensive play while recruiting junior college players that other coaches had ignored.
Tarkanian took U.N.L.V. to the N.C.A.A. tournament's Final Four four times, winning the championship in 1990 with the largest margin of victory in a title game, a 103-73 rout of Duke behind the future N.B.A. players Larry Johnson, Greg Anthony and Stacey Augmon. His teams won at least 20 games in all but one of his seasons in Las Vegas.
His death came just days after that of another coaching legend, Dean Smith of the University of North Carolina.
"Heaven is fielding an unbelievable coaching roster," Reggie Miller, a former U.C.L.A. and Indiana Pacers star, said on Twitter. "RIP Coach Jerry Tarkanian, one of the best."
When Tarkanian was named the coach at U.N.L.V. in 1973, its basketball team played home games at a convention center with a capacity of about 6,400 fans. Ten years later, U.N.L.V. opened the 18,500-seat Thomas & Mack Center to showcase the Runnin' Rebels. The student mascot paid tribute to Tarkanian by wearing a shark costume.
But Tarkanian was targeted by the N.C.A.A. as a rebel in his own right for recruiting players with questionable academic qualifications. All three universities where he coached - Long Beach State, U.N.L.V. and Fresno State, his alma mater - were placed on probation. Tarkanian fought back with two lawsuits against the N.C.A.A., contending that he had been deprived of due process. In one case he was awarded $2.5 million in a settlement.
In May 1991, The Review-Journal published photos, believed to have been taken two years earlier, showing three U.N.L.V. players socializing with a convicted sports fixer at his home. After the 1991-92 season, Tarkanian resigned under pressure, and he had a brief, unhappy professional coaching stint in the N.B.A. with the San Antonio Spurs in 1992.
He had a 509-105 record at U.N.L.V. (There are varying formulations of his overall record because some of the games from his days at Long Beach State and Fresno State were forfeited or not counted by the N.C.A.A. because of sanctions it had imposed.)
When Tarkanian retired from college coaching in 2002 after seven seasons at Fresno State, he was still embittered by the N.C.A.A.
"They've been my tormentors my whole life," he said at a news conference. "I've fought them the whole way. I've never backed down. And they never stopped."
Tarkanian was "fearless in taking on the brutal N.C.A.A., and he put U.N.L.V. on the map," Harry Reid of Nevada, the Senate Democratic leader, wrote on Twitter on Wednesday.
Upon Tarkanian's retirement, Jim Calhoun, Connecticut's coach at the time, called him "one of the best teachers of defense in the last 25 to 30 years of basketball."
Tarkanian was born on Aug. 8, 1930, in Euclid, Ohio. His mother, Rosie, was a refugee from the genocide of Armenians growing out of World War I.
In his taped Hall of Fame induction speech, Tarkanian said his mother had "fled her homeland on horseback with only the clothes on her back after her father and eldest brother were beheaded by Turkish soldiers."
He was 13 when his father died, and his stepfather criticized his love of sports.
"I would never amount to anything - so much was sports all the time," Tarkanian recalled his stepfather saying. "I should look into becoming a barber."
But his mother encouraged him, and he went on to play basketball for Fresno State, in a city with a large population of Armenian descent, graduating in 1955. He coached high school and junior college basketball in California before becoming Long Beach State's coach in 1968. He took it to the N.C.A.A. tournament four times in his five seasons there.
The N.C.A.A began investigating Tarkanian for recruiting violations while he was at Long Beach State and placed it on probation for rule-breaking 10 months after he had left for U.N.L.V.
In 1977, the N.C.A.A. placed U.N.L.V. on probation for rule-breaking, barred it from postseason play for two seasons and ordered the university to suspend Tarkanian for two years. He sued and remained the coach while the case dragged on.
The Supreme Court ruled against Tarkanian in 1988, but he remained at U.N.L.V., reaching a settlement that imposed further penalties on his program. His second suit, brought in 1992, after he had left U.N.L.V., was settled in April 1998 when the N.C.A.A. paid him $2.5 million. The agreement avoided a state court trial in Las Vegas, where he was immensely popular.
Tarkanian was named coach of the Spurs in 1992 but was fired after going 9-11. One of his players, Lloyd Daniels, a former New York City high school star, had been recruited by Tarkanian for U.N.L.V. and enrolled there as a full-time student in January 1987 although he did not have a high school diploma. He never played at U.N.L.V. because of academic problems and his arrest in a cocaine raid, a highly publicized episode bringing yet another N.C.A.A. inquiry.
Tarkanian returned to coaching at Fresno State in 1995. He produced winning teams and then retired for good after the 2001-2 season. The N.C.A.A. put the university's basketball program on probation in September 2003 for past violations involving academic fraud, recruiting and eligibility.
Tarkanian stayed in Las Vegas during his retirement and opened a basketball academy. The court at the Thomas & Mack Center was named for him in 2005.
In addition to his wife and his son Danny, who played for him at U.N.L.V., his survivors include another son, George; his daughters Pamela Tarkanian and Jodie Diamant; a sister, Alice; a brother, Myron; and 11 grandchildren.
Tarkanian attacked the N.C.A.A.'s rules as unfathomable and arcane and defended himself in the face of criticism over his players' low graduation rate.
In February 1983, he acknowledged that only six U.N.L.V. basketball players who had enrolled since 1974 had graduated, but he cited weak scholastic preparation of "inner city" young men and the inability of his many junior college transfers to arrive with enough credits to graduate in four years.
He added that "90 percent of our former players remain in Las Vegas in hotel management or as dealers in casinos, where they make very good money."
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