Jerry Tarkanian was one of the most successful head coaches in the history of college basketball, as he won 729 games in his 31 seasons and won 78.4% of his games. But he was also a controversial figure, as his battle with the NCAA went years and cost millions of dollars in legal fees.
The toll wasn’t felt solely in a financial sense either, because even with the insistence that the critiques of many didn’t bother him Tarkanian and his family were hurt by what came with the territory.
“I don’t think people realize how much it all hurt,” his wife Lois said in a story in today’s New York Times. “He says he never cared what people said, but he did. They broke his heart. All of it broke his heart.”
Now 82 years old and not in the best of health the question these days is whether or not Tarkanian can make a run at the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame, but given the history with the NCAA it’s been difficult for his candidacy to gain any traction.
But that’s not to say that he doesn’t have his supporters either.
“There is no doubt that his legacy has been absolutely set aside and is always looked at in terms of NCAA investigations,” [ESPN analyst Dick] Vitale says. “I think that’s sad in many ways.”
[Former UNLV point guard Greg] Anthony, not surprisingly, strongly believes Tarkanian should be in the Hall of Fame, and [ESPN analyst Jay] Bilas says flatly: “I think it’s a no-brainer that he should be in the Hall of Fame. I don’t claim to understand how everything works, but if you look at who is in the Hall of Fame, he meets and exceeds those standards.”
The numbers don’t lie in regards to his coaching career, as Tarkanian’s winning percentage ranks among the the best to have ever patrolled the sidelines. But it’s the one “game” that took the most out of him, even with the receipt of a $2.5 million settlement, that serves as a roadblock to this very day.
College basketball’s “Father Flanagan” needs the Hall of Fame voters to give him a second chance. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look as if they’re willing to do so.
Raphielle also writes for the NBE Basketball Report and can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.
GAME OF THE NIGHT: Syracuse vs. No. 18 UConn, 3:30 p.m.
For the first time since the Orange departed the Big East, the two former rivals will square off. Today’s battle will take place at the Battle 4 Atlantis, as the Orange knocked off Charlotte yesterday and the Huskies dispatched Michigan. To get ready for this battle, I’d suggest ready through the conversation @NoEscalators had with himself last night.
THIS ONE’S GOOD, TOO: No. 25 Texas A&M vs. No. 10 Gonzaga, 1:00 p.m.
The other semifinal in the Battle 4 Atlantis could end up being just as good, as the Aggies — who might be the second best team in the SEC — square off with a Gonzaga team that has one of the best front lines in the country. This will be a good test to figure out just how good both of these teams are.
FIVE THINGS TO WATCH FOR
1. No. 20 Wichita State vs. USC, 2:00 p.m.: The Shockers will be without Fred VanVleet for this event. It will also be a chance for us to gauge just how good this 4-0 USC team is.
2. No. 23 Xavier vs. Alabama, 12:00 p.m: The Musketeers should have no problems dispatching Alabama.
3. No. 8 Villanova vs. Stanford, 4:30 p.m.: The Wildcats are, once again, as good as any team in the country. Josh Hart might be the nation’s most underrated star.
4. No. 14 Cal vs. San Diego State, 12:00 a.m.: Tyrone Wallace and company have been awesome this season. They get their first real test of the season tonight.
5. Providence vs. Evansville, 7:00 p.m.: Evansville is one of the nation’s best mid-majors, good enough to give the likes of Wichita State and Northern Iowa a fight in the Missouri Valley. And Providence? They got a kid named Kris Dunn. Heard of him?
THE REST OF THE TOP 25
- No. 3 Michigan State vs. Boston College, 6:30 p.m.
- No. 11 Arizona vs. Santa Clara, 11:30 p.m.
- No. 17 Notre Dame vs. Monmouth, 6:30 p.m.
No. 2 Maryland finally found their rhythm on Wednesday night, blowing out a good Rhode Island team, 86-63, in the finals of the Cancun Challenge.
Melo Trimble and Rasheed Sulaimon combined for 34 points and eight assists on 13-for-14 shooting and Robert Carter added 15 points, nine boards, three assists and three blocks. Peak Maryland, which is what we saw tonight, is really dangerous.
But Peak Maryland wasn’t the story after the game, as tempers flared in the waning minutes.
It started when Maryland coach Mark Turgeon called a timeout with less than two minutes remaining. Jake Layman had just hit a three to put Maryland up by 24 points and Turgeon wanted to get his walk-ons in the game. Hurley said to the Maryland bench, “We’ll see you again, boy,” according to Inside Maryland Sports, which prompted this reaction from Turgeon:
After the game, the two teams had to be separated in layup lines. According to reports from IMS and from the Baltimore Sun, Hurley was cursing at Maryland players as he was shaking their hands after the game. According Doug Gottlieb, who called the game for CBS Sports Network, Trimble said that the Rhode Island team wanted to “fight us”: