Rebels basketball:

Sources: UNLV planning Jerry Tarkanian statue

The university will hold a press conference Wednesday to reveal plans for a project honoring the UNLV legend


Lee Zaichick / Sun File Photo

Former UNLV Men’s Basketball coach Jerry Tarkanian bites his nails during a press conference.

The Rebel Room

Jerry Tarkanian Statue

Las Vegas Sun sports editor Ray Brewer and UNLV beat writer Taylor Bern discuss the recent news about UNLV's plans for a statue of the legendary coach outside of the Thomas & Mack Center.

Jerry Tarkanian

UNLV basketball coach Jerry Tarkanian, right, awaits proceedings in district court Thursday, Sept. 7, 1977, as his lawyer Samuel Lionel prepares for a hearing to block the university's bid to remove Tarkanian from his position in compliance with an NCAA ultimatum. Launch slideshow »

UNLV will hold a press conference Wednesday to announce plans to construct a statue of former basketball coach Jerry Tarkanian outside of the Thomas & Mack Center, according to multiple sources.

It’s the latest honor for the longtime Rebels coach who this month was selected to the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame.

Jim Ratigan, the executive director of the UNLV Alumni Association, confirmed the group is working on something for Tarkanian but added the specifics are still being worked out.

"We are spearheading an effort to work on a project honoring coach Tarkanian," Ratigan said. "We’re still working on all the details.”

Sources confirmed that would include a statue located on the concourse outside of the Mack, Cox Pavilion and Mendenhall Center. It's part of a larger project, the Jerry Tarkanian Legacy Project, that will also reportedly include a scholarship fund in Tarkanian’s name.

Particulars about the look, cost and timetable for completion of the statue will be announced next week. UNLV is expected to look for outside funding for the statue. UNLV President Neal Smatresk is one of many Rebels leaders expected to attend the press conference.

This project is unrelated to the proposed updates to the Mack.

During 19 seasons with the Rebels, Tarkanian took UNLV to four Final Fours, including the 1990 national title, and finished with a career record of 509-105. His legacy in Las Vegas is already well established, especially with former player Dave Rice in charge of the basketball team.

However, the statue will help keep Tarkanian, 82, in people’s thoughts after he’s no longer sitting courtside at most games.

Taylor Bern can be reached at 948-7844 or [email protected]. Follow Taylor on Twitter at

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  1. That's awesome! Well deserved for the coach.

  2. Awesome

  3. God love him, he deserves it.

  4. Would love to see a real life shark aquarium built inside of the T&M concourse someday. Fans around the country would love it. Tark built the Shark Tank at UNLV.

  5. Well deserved and sets precedent on those that give to UNLV will be honored and not forgotten.