June 07, 2013
Here is the sometimes turbulent coaching career of Jerry Tarkanian:
Better late than never. The Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame finally is legitimate. One of its newest members is Jerry Tarkanian.
Jerry Tarkanian was born in 1930 near Cleveland and moved to Pasadena at age ten. He went to Fresno State and started coaching high school basketball in 1956. He got his first college job at Riverside Community College in 1961, then moved on to Pasadena City College, which he had once attended. His teams won four straight California junior college championships.
He moved up to Long Beach State in 1968. In five years, he ran up a record of 122-20. His team made the NCAA tournament, which then was limited to 32 teams. He did it in the shadow of the great UCLA teams. He relied heavily on transfers from junior and city colleges. And he broke an unwritten rule … he started three or more African American players in a more racist time when that just wasn’t done.
His success at Long Beach got attention. In 1973, UNLV hired him to coach its basketball team. The president at the time, Donald Baepler, felt Tarkanian would make UNLV nationally known. That he did. By 1977, the Rebels had made it to the Final Four with such great stars as Ricky Sobers and Reggie Theus.
By then, the Rebels had become the Runnin’ Rebels. Throughout his career, Tarkanian had been known for his zone defense. But his early recruits with the Rebels tended to be smaller and faster. So he totally changed his approach, figuring speed would make up for the lack of height. His teams still played great defense, but the emphasis was on the run-and-gun offense.
He was right. By 1976, the Rebels averaged 110 points per game. That was when teams often passed the ball around for minutes at a time and there was no shot clock, like in the NBA. The Rebels then played in the Convention Center rotunda, which seated about 7,000 screaming fans.
In 1983, the Rebels moved to larger quarters … the Thomas and Mack. It seated 18,000. It often was filled. The fans had a lot to cheer. In the first five seasons there, Tark’s teams went 155-20 and reached the Final Four in 1987.
Then came the 1989-1990 team with stars like Larry Johnson, Greg Anthony, and Stacey Augmon, each of whom would be an NBA first-round draft pick. The team went 35-5. In the national championship game, the Rebels played the Duke Blue Devils. It was a mismatch. The Rebels won, 103-73. Las Vegans partied in the streets.
The next year, the Rebels lost in the semi-final game to Duke, 79-77. Tarkanian would coach UNLV for one more season. He would go back to his alma mater, Fresno State, and coach there from 1995 to 2002. They won 20 games a year in six straight seasons, including two NCAA tournament appearances.
After that, Tarkanian retired from coaching with 778 wins in Division One play. The NCAA lists only twenty-seven coaches who have won more than 700 games. Its official records rank him tenth all-time in winning percentage. And those are just some of the reasons he’s going into the basketball hall of fame. Next time, we’ll talk about why it took so long for him to get there.
See discussion rules
|Jan 24, 2015 | 1964 Election, Part 2|
As politics go, winning one election doesn't necessarily mean an easy victory in the next one. The first Las Vegas resident to be elected to the Senate faced more challenges the second time around.
|Jan 17, 2015 | 1964 Election, Part 1|
By the looks of one election, Nevada's political climate in 1964 may have appeared somewhat contrary to what was going on in Washington where there was talk of "the Great Society." The election in Nevada reflected strains in the Democratic Party.
|Nov 29, 2014 | 1914 Election, Part 1|
Statewide elections in Nevada can certainly get interesting as was the case in 1914. A remarkable election when the results are really, really close. Here's Senator Richard Bryan with Nevada Yesterdays.
|Nov 28, 2014 | 1912 Election, Part 2|
About one-fifth of Nevada's population went to the polls in 1914. And they made some notable decisions. Here's Senator Richard Bryan with Nevada Yesterdays.
|Nov 13, 2014 | Women's Suffrage in Nevada|
A century has gone by since 'women's suffrage became a reality in Nevada. The push to give women in Nevada the right to vote was not an easy endeavor. We take a look at how that change came about on Nevada Yesterdays.
|Oct 31, 2014 | One Hundred Fifty Years|
Was it 'silver' or politics that tipped the scales in favor of Nevada statehood, 150 years ago. Here's Senator Richard Bryan with Nevada Yesterdays.
|Sep 5, 2014 | The Beatles|
It's been a half century since the Beatles had a 'hard day's night,' right here in Las Vegas. The real thing - John, Paul, George and Ringo - arrived on August 20, 1964. Their performance lasted for about 30-minutes as part of a show that included the Righteous Brothers and Jackie DeShannon.
|Aug 22, 2014 | Civil Rights Act|
When the Civil Rights Act was passed a half century ago, not everyone within Nevada's political circles was onboard with it. The decision was not a simple one for some Nevada Senators.
|Aug 1, 2014 | Bob Bailey|
How much can one person accomplish? If you're like Bob Bailey, quite a bit. From show business to civil rights on the Strip, Here's Senator Richard Bryan with a look back at the life of Bob Bailey.
|Jul 11, 2014 | Remembering Bob Faiss|
Mixing law with the gaming industry seemed a natural fit for one Las Vegas attorney, who passed away recently. Here's a look back at the influence of attorney Bob Faiss on the gaming industry.
|May 16, 2014 | Viva Las Vegas|
"Viva Las Vegas" turns 50 in a few days. We'll hear how Las Vegas itself starred in the iconic movie, along side Elvis. Moviegoers got a taste of Southern Nevada and a song to go with it!
|May 9, 2014 | Sagebrush Rebels|
A rancher challenging federal authority over land rights in Nevada has been in the news recently, but it's not the first time the subject has been a hot topic. Remembering the "Sagebrush Rebellion" on Nevada Yesterdays.
|Apr 18, 2014 | Metro Battles Corruption and the Mob|
Efforts to drive organized crime out of Las Vegas, left one former Metro officer, Kent Clifford, with some controversies of his own.
|Mar 21, 2014 | Natalie Rittenhouse|
Family connections run deep for some pioneer families of Southern Nevada. Perhaps they aren't too well known these days. They should be. They are among the important pioneer families of southern Nevada.
|Mar 7, 2014 | Test Ban|
Strange as it may seem now, there was a time when detonating a nuclear bomb was healthy for Nevada's image.
|Feb 21, 2014 | Green Felt Jungle|
The pen is mightier than the roulette table? Some books over the years have tested that notion. Fifty years ago, a book about Las Vegas became a best-seller. But not everyone was happy with what the book had to say about the influence of organized crime on Las Vegas casinos.
|Jan 16, 2014 | Martin Luther King, Jr.|
Fifty years have gone by since Martin Luther King, Jr. made his way to Las Vegas, in a visit that had an impact. Local leaders had won the right to patronize once segregated casinos, but they hoped King would reinvigorate the local movement.
|Jan 3, 2014 | Treaty of Ruby Valley|
A treaty that was signed in the territory of Nevada 150 years ago is still raising questions. The Western Shoshone tribe has been offered tens of millions of dollars by the US government, but they say no thanks. In 1974, sisters Mary and Carrie Dann of Beowawe, became symbols of the tribes resistance.
|Dec 5, 2013 | Lon Simmons|
We take a look at how a legendary sports-broadcaster forged a path from Las Vegas to Candlestick Park. Switching from pitcher to broadcaster turned out to be a home run decision for Lon Simmons. Here's Senator Richard Bryan with Nevada Yesterdays.
|Nov 20, 2013 | JFK and Las Vegas Connections|
Elements of John F. Kennedy's ties to Las Vegas have been mixed in with the
puzzle-pieces surrounding his death. Las Vegas and Nevada were part of the orbit of the Kennedys, their allies, and their enemies. Senator Richard Bryan connects the dots on Nevada Yesterdays.