Legendary Runnin' Rebels Coach Passes On

Runnin' Rebels Coach Jerry Tarkanian died in Las Vegas Wednesday


Four days after Dean Smith passed away, legendary UNLV coach Jerry Tarkanian followed him. He died of a respiratory ailment and infection at age 84, after battling heart problems for years.

Tarkanian was hospitalized Monday with breathing difficulties — his third hospitalization in 10 months. His son Danny described his father's condition as "minute by minute," according to the Associated Press.

Tarkanian won 784 games over 31 years coaching at the Division I level. He coached the majority of his career with the University of Nevada at Las Vegas, coaching the Runnin' Rebels to four Final Fours and winning a national championship in 1990.

In 1976, his first Final Four team broke 100 points in 23 games — before the shot clock and 3-point line had been introduced.

Tarkanian also battled with the NCAA, who he sued for trying to run him out of college basketball, and eventually collected a $2.5 million settlement.

The night before Tarkanian’s death, fans at UNLV's game against Fresno State draped towels on the statue of him outside the campus arena, which depicts Tarkanian chewing on a towel while sitting courtside.