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University Libraries - Jerry and Lois Tarkanian Collection

Jerry and Lois Tarkanian Collection

Collection Description

Jerry and Lois Tarkanian

Jerry Tarkanian was a hall-of-fame college basketball at Long Beach State, University of Nevada-Las Vegas (UNLV), and Fresno State. Over his 30 -Year NCAA D-I head coaching career, Coach Tarkanian had a 761-202 won/loss record, an astounding 79% winning percentage. He won 17 conference championships, 8 conference tournament titles, and his UNLV teams appeared in four NCAA Final Fours. His 1990 Runnin’ Rebels won the NCAA D-I National Championship.

However, Tarkanian’s most lasting impact may be the result of a 25-year legal battle he and his wife (Dr. Lois Tarkanian) waged with the NCAA, when the association accused him of violating NCAA bylaws. When the NCAA ordered UNLV to suspend him in 1977, he sued the NCAA but continued coaching. While the US Supreme Court ruled against him in 1988, he remained UNLV's coach after a settlement with the NCAA. In 1992 the Tarkanians again sued the NCAA, and the case was settled in 1998 when Coach Tarkanian received a $2.5 million settlement and the NCAA also issued a conciliatory statement.

Jerry Tarkanian

In 2013, Tarkanian was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. He is widely recognized as a revolutionary college basketball coach who coached an up-tempo, high-pressure man-to-man defensive style. He also introduced a “match-up” zone defense dubbed the “Amoeba Defense.”

The Jerry and Lois Tarkanian Collection consists of thousands of documents related to the NCAA v. Tarkanian US Supreme Court case, as well as practice plans, photos, regalia, mementoes, children’s books, readers, and other material related to Coach Tarkanian’s coaching legacy.