09 September 2013, 12:12
1375 |

Hall of Famer Jerry Tarkanian reaches basketball immortality

Jerry Tarkanian was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass. this weekend. 

The legendary coach led the UNLV Runnin' Rebel basketball team to the national title in 1990, and overall, took three schools to the NCAA tournament. The 82-year-old Tarkanian won 784 games in his career, 509 of them at UNLV.

Lois Tarkanian, Jerry’s wife of 57 years, read the following statement on behalf of her husband:

“For me the, the celebration that we are having makes me feel very grateful to be an American. Here, the eldest son of an Armenian immigrant whose mother fled her homeland on horseback with only the clothes on her back after her father and eldest brother were beheaded by Turkish soldiers. It was my mother who gave me her unconditional love and many second chances. I was 13 when my father died. My stepfather said I would never amount to anything so much with sports all the time, and that I should look into becoming a barber. But my mother never gave up on me. So to mom, and all my Armenian family, especially my brother Myron, and my sister Alice, thank you for your loyalty and love all these years…”

Lois continued, and Jerry, recovering from an 11-day stay in a San Diego-area hospital after suffering artery blockages and having a pacemaker installed in late July, said, “I have loved the game of basketball since my earliest memories. Basketball has been good to me.

“I’ve been able to be comrades with some of the finest people in the coaching profession. Sure, we can sometimes be combative and argumentative. But we all love the game of basketball and, deep down, most of us understand that.

“To my players, coaches and staff, thank you for all you did. I wouldn’t be here today without you.”

By topic