At a time when the basketball world is finally starting to recognize his achievements instead of solely spotlighting his career-long battles with the NCAA, it's a shame Jerry Tarkanian isn't healthy enough to fully appreciate it.
The legendary former UNLV coach has spent 11 days in a San Diego-area hospital after suffering artery blockages and having a pacemaker and some stents installed, his son, Danny Tarkanian, told the Associated Press on Wednesday night. The 82-year-old coach is set to leave the hospital and return to the San Diego-area condominium where he receives in-house nursing care.
"He’s doing well and we’re glad to get him back home," the younger Tarkanian told the Associated Press.
The latest hospitalization is one of many signs the elder Tarkanian's health is worsening.
Tarkanian suffered a mild heart attack in March 2012 and also spent time in a hospital last November. At an April 5 ceremony at the Final Four in Atlanta announcing he will be inducted into the Naismith Hall of Fame in September, Tarkanian arrived in a wheelchair, required help getting on and off stage and spoke in a voice barely above a whisper.
Many thought Tarkanian's Hall of Fame nomination was long overdue after a career that included more than 700 victories, three Final Fours and the 1990 national championship. UNLV is also erecting a statue at the Thomas & Mack Center sometime this summer of Tarkanian sitting in a folding chair clad in his trademark short-sleeved shirt and tie and holding a towel to his mouth.
Hopefully Tarkanian will be healthy enough to savor these honors. His career had its share of controversial moments but the recognition is still well deserved.
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- Jerry Tarkanian
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