Legendary UNLV basketball coach Jerry Tarkanian has died

Hall of Fame basketball coach and NCAA rabblerouser Jerry Tarkanian has died at the age of 84, his son announced today. Tarkanian spent 19 years at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, where he posted a 509-105 record overall and took the Runnin’ Rebels to four Final Fours with his fast-paced offense and stifling defense. With a team boasting three future NBA players — Stacy Augmon, Larry Johnson, and Greg Anthony — Tarkanian led the Rebels to the NCAA title in 1990 and an undefeated regular season the following year.

Tarkanian’s high-profile success was not without without controversy, however, as he was constantly in the NCAA’s crosshairs for suspected duplicity. From his start at Long Beach State University in 1968 all the way through his last year coaching with Fresno State in 2002, Tarkanian “carried the reputation of a rogue who would take in student-athletes other schools passed on — and win with them,” USA Today reports. His willingness to take in unconventional prospects, including junior college transfers before adding them to four-year rosters was common practice, gave him an anti-establishment reputation. That notoriety — coupled with a damning photograph of some of his UNLV players with a noted game “fixer” in 1991 — eventually led to his ouster from the program.

Tarkanian was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2013, more than a decade after his retirement from coaching. Aside from the wins and the controversies, his legacy will include sideline towel-chewing and an iconic NCAA-skewering quip.

Written by Zac Porter

Zac Porter

Zac Porter is a contributing writer for WJS and three other online websites. Zac is an avid fan of the Los Angeles Clippers, Lob City, and a die hard fan and alumni of the UCLA Bruins. Zac has been with WJS since it’s inception but briefly left to finish his education. Now a graduate and on the path to even greater success, follow Zac for all your basketball needs, and of course the John Wooden Pyramid of Success.