UNLV unveils consummate Jerry Tarkanian statue

By Matt Norlander | Staff Writer

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UNLV on Wednesday unsheathed and released to the public its statue to Hall-of-Fame basketball coach Jerry Tarkanian. Tark took the team to the national championship game in back-to-back seasons, 1990 and 1991, winning it all in '90.

Tarkanian and a few hundred other people were there to celebrate the occasion. The bronze carving is true to Tark: no sportscoat, towel in mouth, sitting on a flimsy chair, slightly leaning forward, eyes wide. It was a speedy turnaround on this, too. The school only announced in April it would be taking on this project; the maker of the statue said it's the fastest he's ever built one of this size is such a short time.

“This beautiful statue is a lasting tribute to not only me but all my players and coaches,” Tarkanian was quoted, in the Las Vegas Sun. “I never dreamed something like this could happen.”

Behind the statue is a wall that features a mural of career highlights and a list of the notable donors who made it possible. UNLV transformed a smoking area into something that future generations will be able to observe as a piece of Rebels tradition, coach Dave Rice said.

“This adds to the history. This adds to the legacy,” he said.

Tarkanian won 706 games at the Division I level, 509 of them with the Runnin' Rebels. UNLV, under third-year head coach Rice -- who was coached by Tark -- begins its season Nov. 8 against Portland State.

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