Tarkanian arrives at Final Four
by Eric Prisbell, USA TODAY Sports
ATLANTA — Jerry Tarkanian arrived here at the Final Four with his family on Friday, three days before he will be named to the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame.
A person with direct knowledge of the announcement confirmed the news to USA TODAY Sports. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because it has yet to be announced.”
Being named to the Hall of Fame is a crowning achievement for the 82-year-old Tarkanian, the architect of some of the sport’s greatest teams who was also shadowed by NCAA investigators for decades. In the weeks leading up to the announcement, Tarkanian, whose health has been failing, had been optimistic that this would finally be the year he would be elected and had said in a phone interview earlier this season that it would be a special honor.
“He is as good a coach as we have ever had in our sport,” Hall of Fame coach Larry Brown told USA TODAY Sports during a recent interview. “Tark, his teams played hard as hell. They played exactly the way he wanted them to play. They were so much better defensively than anyone ever gave them credit for. He influenced a lot of coaches.”
Tarkanian reached four Final Fours – 1977, 1987, 1990 and 1991 – and won the national title in 1990 with UNLV. His 1991 UNLV team, which lost to Duke in the national semifinals, is regarded by many as one of the sport’s most dominant teams.
Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said by phone recently that he has been a proponent of Tarkanian being in the Hall of Fame, adding that Tarkanian “certainly has the résumé to be selected. I hope it happens. Jerry’s career has been a sensational one.”
From the start of his Division I coaching career at Long Beach State in 1968 to his final season at his alma mater Fresno State in 2002, Tarkanian was incessantly dogged by suspicions of cheating.
He was also a charming, colorful figure with that U-shaped smile who grew so stressed during games that he would gnaw on a white towel. Off the court, he used to hang with … [For more on Tarkanian arrives at Final Four, Hall of Fame honor awaits, click here.]