It’s no secret I felt Jerry Tarkanian should have been in the Hall of Fame. Well, he finally got voted in and I didn’t blog a thing about it. Since I, and several others, worked on righting what we saw as a wrong (for six years), allow me to share part of the four-page document I passed along to people I knew who had “juice,” people “who knew people” and media outlets (including USA Today). The season-by-season records were naturally included; what follows is a list of items that separated Jerry from others.
1 – Overall record: 990-228 (81.3%); Division I: 784-202 (79.5%), 729-201 (78.4%) counting vacated games
2 – 4 Final Fours (’77, ’87, ’90, ’91); National Champions in 1990
3 – 38-18 (67.9%) in NCAA Tournament games
4 – Undefeated seasons 1963-64 (JC); 1990-91 (D-I regular season)
5 – Won four straight Cal JC titles (1963-67)-at two JC’s (Riverside & Pasadena)
6 – Won at least 20 games at three different D-I schools in his first year at each – (every school was way down when he got there)
7 – Won championships at high school, JC & D-I levels
8 – 29 twenty-win seasons, 2nd to only Dean Smith who had 30
9 – Was the first to start five black players (’64 Olympic Trials, before Don Haskins’ Texas Western national champions) – and won it
10 – 42 NBA draft picks, 12 first-rounders
1 – The most difficult job a coach has is to get his or her team to play hard. Whether a coach is a supporter of Tark’s or his severest critic, no one will ever
say his teams didn’t play hard.
2 - Won playing 1-2-2 zone, full court m-m, half court pressure m-m, amoeba
3 – His strength was his weakness: loyalty. His biggest flaw was he didn’t hold kids accountable because he let people be themselves. He was the anti-
authoritative coach. It was always about the players; never about him.
4 – What started all the controversy was when the Long Beach Press-Telegram requested he write an article and he was critical of what he felt was the
hypocrisy within the organization. Many coaches feel he wrote what others thought but wouldn’t say.
5 – How many coaches who won NCAA D-I Championships are not in the HOF?
6 - If breaking NCAA rules disqualifies a coach from admission, there are a whole lot who ought to be asked to vacate.
7 - He took a team that was on probation, couldn’t go to the post-season and had started 2-2 and threw out his defensive philosophy. He changed to a 1-2-2 zone (which he
last used in 1972) and won 24 straight to finish 26-2; with a team that had no motivation, nothing meaningful to play for. That’s coaching!
8 - He always agreed to share his ideas with colleagues. He was truly a coach’s coach.
As much as he won, he was always incredibly nervous before games. His famous quote was:
“A perfect season would be all practices, no games.”