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REBEL WITH A CAUSE
Pete Dexter
December 08, 1986
Jerry Tarkanian, Nevada—Las Vegas's combative basketball coach, won't let the NCAA or any of his other detractors alter his controversial ways
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December 08, 1986

Rebel With A Cause

Jerry Tarkanian, Nevada—Las Vegas's combative basketball coach, won't let the NCAA or any of his other detractors alter his controversial ways

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And anything beyond that belongs to Lois.

Lois keeps track of all the business with the NCAA, probably all the other kinds of business, too. And all the details. Tonight she keeps Tarkanian from appearing at two different parties being held for politicians who are running against each other.

When she tells him that he says, "They are? Really?"

She is busy and quick, half out of breath, anticipating everything. In this way Lois resembles the teams Tarkanian puts on the basketball floor.

I am reminded, talking to her, that when she found Tarkanian, his only ambition was to coach basketball at Edison High in Fresno.

I am also reminded that this woman got Tarkanian through graduate school with almost straight A's.

You have to wonder what else.

A little while later I am standing at the window with her, looking out over the pool and the granite slabs piled on top of each other, trying to frame the question: How much of it has she done? It never gets asked, though, because in a moment I am choking back laughter.

"You should have been here the day they brought those rocks in," she says suddenly. "Jerry came home, he thought vandals had dumped them in the backyard. He was very upset...."

"From the day I got to Las Vegas, I loved it," Tarkanian says. "Except I hated my team. I didn't even have a banquet for them at the end of the year. I got a philosophy: No banquet if I hate the team. We were being considered for the NIT that year, I told them to forget it. I couldn't stand to spend another two weeks with those guys...."

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