Hall of Fame basketball coach Tarkanian dies

Feb 11, 2015 - 5:47 PM Las Vegas, NV (SportsNetwork.com) - Hall of Fame basketball coach Jerry Tarkanian died Wednesday. He was 84 years old.

Tarkanian's son, Danny, confirmed the news via Twitter.

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

According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Tarkanian died at a Las Vegas hospital after being admitted on Monday. He had battled health issues the past few years, including heart problems and recently had a monthlong stay in the hospital with pneumonia before returning earlier this week.

A 2013 Hall of Fame inductee, Tarkanian is most remembered for leading UNLV to the NCAA Tournament title in 1990. He spent 19 seasons with the Rebels from 1973-92, leading the program to a record of 509-105 with four appearances in the Final Four.

Tarkanian also coached Fresno State and Long Beach State on the collegiate level and finished his career with a mark of 784-202 over 31 years. He had a 20-game stint in the NBA with the San Antonio Spurs in 1992, but was fired after a 9-11 record and a reported clash with management.

The man who became known as "Tark the Shark" began his collegiate coaching career with a four-year stint at Long Beach State from 1969-73, then followed with a highly successful run at UNLV. The Rebels, soon to be renamed "Runnin' Rebels" because of the coach's high-octane style of play, had 18 seasons of at least 20 wins during his tenure.

UNLV first reached the Final Four in 1977, then again in 1987 before his team in 1990 won it all with Greg Anthony and Larry Johnson leading the way. The Rebels were undefeated heading into the Final Four a year later and suffered a stunning loss to Duke.

An NCAA Tournament ban followed in 1992 and his final team with the Rebels finished 26-2.

After his very brief period in the NBA, Tarkanian returned to college in 1995 with Fresno State and spent eight seasons with the Bulldogs.

Tarkanian is survived by his wife, Lois, as well as two sons and two daughters, and 11 grandchildren.

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