Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun
Thursday, Aug. 8, 2013 | 2 a.m.
One month before he’s inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, Jerry Tarkanian will spend his birthday in the company of family and friends, his son Danny Tarkanian said.
The legendary UNLV coach turns 83 years old today, and though Jerry Tarkanian’s health is still an issue, the family has a few plans for the day in the San Diego area. While driving to California with other members of the family, Danny Tarkanian said he would take his father to an old-timers breakfast with former USC coach Bob Boyd and other contemporaries.
Later in the day, Danny Tarkanian said, the family would get together for dinner in the Pacific Beach area. Jerry Tarkanian did have one birthday request: a chocolate cake.
“I asked him if he’d reimburse us for all the candles,” Danny Tarkanian jokingly said.
Just more than two weeks ago, Jerry Tarkanian was in a hospital to have a pacemaker installed, among other medical issues. Since then, he’s had at least one trip to urgent care. The family’s options for birthday celebrations are limited, sure, but they can at least be together.
“He’s still not doing well,” Danny Tarkanian said. “We’ll do the most we can.”
It’s a big month for Jerry Tarkanian. The unveiling of his statue outside the Thomas & Mack Center is expected in the next few weeks, and then there’s the hall of fame.
Fans have been clamoring for this induction for several years. Despite Jerry Tarkanian's impressive resume — three Final Fours, including the 1990 national championship — many believed the coach’s battles with the NCAA would keep him out, at least while he’s alive.
Danny Tarkanian said his father’s current health doesn’t change anything about the plans to head out to Springfield, Mass., for the induction weekend.
“There’s no indication of that,” he said. “That would be a crushing blow.”
Danny Tarkanian guessed that 50-75 members of the family or close friends were planning on attending the induction ceremony. The birthday gathering is nice, but one month from now is the celebration Jerry Tarkanian and his family have really been looking forward to.
“We’re happy that he can understand what’s going on and appreciate the tributes,” Danny Tarkanian said.