Former UNLV coach Jerry Tarkanian, who led the Runnin’ Rebels to four Final Fours and the 1990 NCAA men’s basketball championship, died Wednesday at age 84, his son Danny Tarkanian confirmed to USA TODAY Sports.
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.
— Danny Tarkanian (@DannyTarkanian) February 11, 2015
Tarkanian had been hospitalized since Monday at Valley Hospital Medical Center for a respiratory ailment and infection. He had been rushed to the hospital by ambulance after his blood oxygen fell to dangerous levels.
“He fought and fought and fought,” Danny Tarkanian told The Associated Press
He ended up beating the NCAA, too, collecting a $2.5 million settlement after suing the organization for trying to run him out of college basketball. But he was bitter to the end about the way the NCAA treated him while coaching, and carried the grudge the rest of his life.
“They’ve been my tormentors my whole life,” Tarkanian said at his retirement news conference in 2002. “It will never stop.”
A campus memorial event is being planned. Details will be announced soon.
“The UNLV community mourns the passing of Coach Jerry Tarkanian, and our condolences are with Jerry’s wife, Lois, and the Tarkanian family,” said UNLV President Len Jessup.
“Coach Tarkanian’s contribution to UNLV and Southern Nevada stretches far beyond the game of basketball. Many in Southern Nevada and around the nation were introduced to UNLV through Coach Tarkanian and the Runnin’ Rebels. He made Runnin’ Rebel basketball a brand name during his 19 years on campus, inspiring our community and creating a legacy that endures to this day. He will be deeply missed though fondly remembered as a college basketball icon and as one of the greats in our university’s history.”
Current UNLV men’s basketball head coach Dave Rice was both a player and coach under Tarkanian. He said, “The qualities that make UNLV a great university – opportunity, self-determination and equality – are the same qualities that coach Tarkanian ingrained in his teams. The impact of coach’s contributions to our university, our community, his players and all of college basketball, is immeasurable.”
Share your comments and memories of Coach Tarkanian in your social media accounts using #Tark.
Read the full article on UNLVREBELS.COM
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For more on Tarkanian, visit the UNLV Pioneer: Jerry Tarkanian website.