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_

NEW PODCAST: Recapping Feast Week

Kris Dunn
AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill
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We talk about a lot of stuff of the podcast today, mainly because a lot of stuff happened since we last spoke with you all.

For starters, we need to discuss the ‘realness’ of Syracuse and Xavier. Are they both truly top 15 teams, or do they just have top 15 resumes? We also dive into Chris Mack’s epic troll-job of Dayton at the Advocare Invitational final.

Other topics we touched on: Whether or not Scott is ever going to apologize to Wayne Selden, Wichita State’s tournament hopes, Texas A&M and whether we’d take Ben Simmons, Kris Dunn or Denzel Valentine today.

As always, you can subscribe to the podcast in iTunes right here. It’s the quickest way to get access on your cell phone or tablet.


AP Poll: Syracuse, Xavier big winners in college basketball rankings

(Brad Horrigan/The Courant via AP)
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The new college basketball AP Poll is out, and it shouldn’t be much of a surprise to you that Syracuse and Xavier are the big winners.

The Orange steamrolled through a good Battle 4 Atlantis field, while Xavier capped a dominating performance in the Advocare Invitational with a 29-point win over Dayton. It should be no surprise that they are where they are.

[MORE RANKINGS: top 25 | Coaches Poll]

It is a bit surprising, however, that both Texas A&M and Providence made it into the polls with a loss this week. They both deserve to be there, I just wasn’t sure they were both going to be.

Anyway, here is the full poll:

1. Kentucky (59 first place votes)
2. Maryland (4)
3. Michigan State (2)
4. Kansas
5. Iowa State
6. Oklahoma
7. Duke
8. Villanova
9. North Carolina
10. Virginia
11. Purdue
12. Xavier
13. Gonzaga
14. Syracuse
15. Oregon
16. Vanderbilt
17. Cincinnati
18. Texas A&M
19. Arizona
20. West Virginia
21. Miami
22. SMU
23. Providence
24. Louisville
25. Baylor

NEW THIS WEEK: Syracuse, West Virginia, SMU, Providence, Louisville

DROPPED OUT: Indiana, Cal, UConn, LSU, Wichita State