Jerry Tarkanian: Oklahoma’s athletic department has deep pockets

I remember when Billy Tubbs was coaching at Oklahoma and everyone was trying to recruit Wayman Tisdale.

Wayman was an Oklahoma high school legend and the nation’s top recruit. We all assumed Wayman was going to stay at home.

Billy and I were good friends, so I asked him: “Does anyone else have a chance at signing him?” Billy told me, “There’s not enough oil in the whole country to buy Tisdale out of Oklahoma.”

The Oklahoma athletic department basically has unlimited funds. They wanted Lon Kruger to be their next basketball coach and had the resources to get what they wanted. I’m absolutely amazed at how much they are paying coaches nowadays. It just blows my mind. There was nothing like that in coaching during my career. My highest salary was $460,000 a year.

I thought Lon did a great job at UNLV. He united the community and welcomed back the Rebels of the past. I can’t tell you how long overdue that was and how we all appreciated it. He was just so good in the community, always shaking hands with people or speaking at dinners.

He did a great job of coaching here, too. His teams always played hard. They were very competitive. I thought he did a great job in every aspect of running the program.

The program will still be in good shape. They have great facilities, great financial backing and the support of the administration. It’s a great place to coach and they will find someone to continue what Lon started.

I know a lot of people have mentioned Reggie Theus as a potential replacement and I think Reggie would make a great coach for UNLV. He coached New Mexico State to a league championship a few years back and understands the style of basketball they play at UNLV from being one of my great all-time players. Reggie would be a great fit.

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