Jerry Tarkanian

Jerry Tarkanian (1930-2015)

Teams coached: Long Beach State 49ers, UNLV Runnin’ Rebels, Fresno State Bulldogs
Long Beach State record^: 116-17 (.872) **
UNLV record: 509-105 (.829)
Fresno State record: 104-79 (.568) **
Overall record^: 729-201 (.784) **

Career Accomplishments:


Coaching Career (head coach, unless noted):

1995-2002 Fresno State
1992 San Antonio Spurs
1973-1992 UNLV
1968-1973 Long Beach State
1966-1968 Pasadena CC
1961-1966 Riverside CC

Jerry Tarkanian Facts

  • Jerry Tarkanian
  • Born August 8, 1930
  • Died February 11, 2015
  • Hometown: Euclid, Ohio
  • Alma Mater: Fresno State College (BA, 1955) / University of Redlands (M.Ed.)
  • Spent five years as a California high school coach at San Joaquin Memorial HS, Antelope Valley HS and Redlands HS
  • Was head coach at Riverside CC (CA) for five seasons and Pasadena CC (CA) for two seasons
  • Became the head coach at Long Beach State in 1968, leading the 49ers for five seasons
    • Went an impressive 116-17 during that tenure, winning four-straight PCAA titles and going to four NCAA Tournaments (three appearances later vacated by the NCAA)
  • Left the Beach for UNLV in 1973, kicking off a 19-year tenure that cemented his coaching legacy
    • Was 509-105 during his time in Vegas, going to 12 NCAA Tournaments and 2 NITs
    • Brought UNLV into the national spotlight, winning on the court while also bringing a ton of character to the program befitting of a team from Las Vegas
    • During a ten-year stretch when UNLV was in the Big West Conference (1982-92), the Rebels won the conference championship every year, advanced to three Final Fours and won the National Championship in 1990
      • Led by five future NBA players in Larry Johnson, Stacey Augmon, Greg Anthony, George Ackles and Elmore Spencer, the 1990 Rebels dominated burgeoning powerhouse Duke 103-73 in the NCAA title game
    • Long-standing tension existed between Tarkanian and the NCAA, though none of his wins at UNLV were ever vacated
    • However, a connection to a local gambler became apparent in the late 1980s and eventually led to NCAA banning the Rebels from the 1991 NCAA Tournament (later deferred to 1992 to give them the change to defend their title in 1991)
    • Tarkanian announced prior to the 1991-92 season that he would resign afterwards; the Rebels went 26-2 (18-0) but were not allowed into the postseason
    • The floor at the Thomas & Mack Center is named “Jerry Tarkanian Court” in his honor
  • Was the head coach of the San Antonio Spurs in the NBA in 1992, though he was fired just 20 games into the season after a 9-11 start and several disagreements with the team’s front office
  • Tarkanian sued the NCAA for harassment throughout his career and the NCAA eventually settled out of court and paid the coach $2.5 million (without admitting guilt)
  • Returned to the college game in 1995, becoming the head coach at alma mater Fresno State
    • Compiled a 104-79 record, not including 50 games from 1999-2001 vacated by the NCAA
    • The Bulldogs’ 2000 WAC Tournament title and subsequent NCAA Tournament appearance were vacated by the NCAA due to an academic scandal
    • Tarkanian retired from coaching in 2002 after nearly 50 years in the profession
  • Inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2013
  • After several years of heart issues, Tarkanian passed away in 2015 at the age of 84
    • Survived by his wife, Lois, their four children and ten grandchildren

Jerry Tarkanian Coaching Tree


^ overall record includes head coaching positions at both the NCAA Division I and Division II levels, as Long Beach State was still Division II for the first year of Tarkanian’s tenure as head coach

** Listed accomplishments for this coach do not include wins or appearances later vacated by the NCAA