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Jerry Tarkanian - Stage Set For Further Conflict

Famous Sports StarsBasketballJerry Tarkanian Biography - Helps Coach High School Team, Success At Long Beach State, Chronology, Awards And Accomplishments

Stage Set for Further Conflict

The stage was set for further conflict with the NCAA even before Tarkanian accepted the coaching job at UNLV. The NCAA in November 1972 had announced an investigation into UNLV football and basketball. In February 1976 the athletic association submitted an official inquiry to UNLV officials, listing alleged violations of NCAA rules prior to and during Tarkanian's tenure. Most of the violations, according to the NCAA, were in the area of recruiting practices. Late that year UNLV officials, including Tarkanian, responded to the NCAA inquiry, denying that the alleged violations had occurred.

In his first season at UNLV, Tarkanian coached the basketball team to a winning record of 20-6. To better suit his second-season team, which had a number of players who were short by normal basketball standards but fast, he introduced a new playing style. As he recalled in his autobiography, "I figured that if we got the bigger teams running, it would take away their size advantage. Rather than work the ball around the perimeter, I wanted us to get the ball up the court as fast as possible and then take a quick jumper before the defense could set up. Speed would be the determining factor in the game. The team that got the rebounds would be the team that hustled for the ball more and reached it first." Tarkanian's new strategy required a man-to-man defense rather than the zone defense he had popularized at Long Beach State.

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