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UNLV unveils statue honoring former coach Jerry Tarkanian (VIDEO)

Oct 30, 2013, 8:59 PM EDT


Sam Morris/Las Vegas Sun

The day that UNLV fans have been waiting for finally arrived, as on Wednesday the school unveiled the bronze statue built in honor for Jerry Tarkanian, one of the most successful coaches in basketball history. In 19 seasons at UNLV, “Tark the Shark” won 509 games and led the Runnin’ Rebels to their lone national title (1990) and three other Final Four appearances.

Overall Tarkanian recorded 990 wins as a college head coach, with the run including stops at Riverside (Calif.) City College, Pasadena (Calif.) City College, Long Beach State and Fresno State in addition to UNLV. Tarkanian won 81% of the games he coached, and at the Division I level his teams made 14 NCAA tournament appearances (13 trips to the Sweet 16).

And just over a month after he was enshrined in the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame, Tarkanian was able to sit next to an oversized statue of himself, with the famous wet towel present as well. The extra chair is a part of the statue, allowing visiting fans to sit down next to the coach and have their picture taken. The statue is located in front of the Thomas & Mack Center and behind the Mendenhall Center, where the basketball team practices.

“This beautiful statue is a lasting tribute to not only me but all my players and coaches,” Jerry Tarkanian said. “… I never dreamed something like this could happen.

Below is video of the full ceremony.

  1. onbucky96 - Oct 30, 2013 at 11:41 PM

    What about a statue of a bag of money, honoring the various times UNLV has rec’d sanctions from the NCAA?

    • Tarkus - Oct 31, 2013 at 12:21 AM

      You mean the $2.5M that Tarkanian won from the NCAA, for their vendetta against him?

      • coryfor3 - Oct 31, 2013 at 11:30 AM

        You know it’s possible that Tark was an unbelievable cheater AND that the NCAA had a vendetta against him. It doesn’t have to be one or the other.

  2. coryfor3 - Oct 31, 2013 at 11:30 AM

    This is awful on so many levels.

  3. 2late2matter - Nov 3, 2013 at 1:55 PM

    Feel glad for the Shark, and only hope this magnificent tribute to him is not a harbinger, similar to Joe Paterno’s statue at Penn State, that now sits in a dark closet.

  4. jazzie2 - Apr 11, 2014 at 1:03 PM

    What a fabulous statue! Coach you are the BEST! On so many levels. And thank goodness you never let people like some of these cynics here deter you from your goals. You were good for so many young men, whom no one else gave a chance. And you had to go up against some pretty bad play-makers. Wishing you a safe and sound recovery! Thanks for all you did!! On the court, on the radio, in the community and in the lives–of so many!! (Fresno, CA)

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