Jerry Tarkanian

Legendary UNLV coach Jerry Tarkanian celebrates 82nd birthday Wednesday


Born Aug. 8, 1930, legendary coach Jerry Tarkanian celebrates his 82nd birthday Wednesday, now a decade removed from his last job at a Division I school.

Tarkanian, most recognizable for his time with UNLV’s famed “Runnin’ Rebel” teams of the late 1980s and early 1990s, went to four Final Fours and won a national championship during his time in Las Vegas.

He finished his coaching career with an overall record of 706-198 and, on either side of his famed career at UNLV, was able to lead two other programs to a string of 20-win seasons.

Before coming to Las Vegas, he coached Long Beach State to five straight 20-win campaigns and, after UNLV, returned to coaching to lead his alma mater, Fresno State, to six straight 20-win seasons before retiring in 2002.

Tarkanian was a prominent figure in the recent documentary “Unguarded,” which profiled one of his former players at Fresno State, guard Chris Herren.

After trouble with drugs at Boston College, the talented Herren transferred to Tarkanian’s Fresno State team, playing with the Bulldogs from 1996-99 and eventually being drafted into the NBA.

Throughout his career, Tarkanian sparred with the NCAA, having taken on penalties for recruiting violations at Long Beach State and ultimately being forced out at UNLV over ties to Richard Perry, a man with connections to sports gambling. In 1998, he won a $2.5 million settlement from the NCAA after he alleged the organization “manufactured evidence” against him and harassed him for much of his coaching career.

Last year, a number of Tarkanian’s former players surprised him for his 81st birthday party. Among those players in attendance were Larry Johnson and Reggie Theus.

One of Tarkanian’s former players at UNLV, Dave Rice, now leads the Runnin’ Rebels as their head coach with perhaps the most hype surrounding the program since Tarkanian’s days at the helm.

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_

PHOTO: Ohio State’s new LeBron James shoe display

during the College Football Playoff National Championship Game at AT&T Stadium on January 12, 2015 in Arlington, Texas.
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Ohio State has capitalized on its close relationship with NBA superstar LeBron James over the years and now has a new shoe display that should come in handy during recruiting.

The Buckeyes put out a tweet late this week with the display, calling themselves “THE LeBron school.” While this is something small, recruits like that the Buckeyes are tied into the best player in the world and it’s cool to them that Ohio State gets some exclusive gear.

Rutgers hoping new duo can bring a spark

of the Ohio State Buckeyes against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights during their Big Ten conference game at Rutgers Athletic Center on February 8, 2015 in Piscataway, New Jersey.
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Rutgers has struggled to achieve success on the floor the last few years and head coach Eddie Jordan is hoping that some talented newcomers can help start a turnaround. With the start of practice, local media saw some of the Scarlet Knights’ early practice and Jerry Carino of the Asbury Park Press noted that the duo of freshman point guard Corey Sanders and junior college forward Deshawn Freeman were getting a lot of burn together.

With both incoming players being four-star prospects, it’s hardly a surprise that Jordan would see what the two were capable of. According to Carino, it meant a lot of Sanders driving and forcing the defense to collapse before finding Freeman.

“It seems like coach always has us on the same team,” Freeman said to Carino. “Ever since we’ve gotten here, he’s trying to get us to play together.”

Carino also notes that since Rutgers is deeper, longer and more athletic in general this season, the team could do more with a pressing defense to help create turnovers.

While Rutgers still faces an uphill climb in the Big Ten, they at least have some exciting pieces that will be in place for a few seasons.