FRESNO, Calif. (AP) _ After years of chewing on the towel, Jerry Tarkanian, the fourth-winningest coach in major college basketball, is throwing it in, The Associated Press has learned.
The 71-year-old coach and Fresno State officials were to announce the decision Friday, a source close to the coach said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Tarkanian, who won an NCAA title with University of Nevada-Las Vegas in 1990, was an unmistakable presence on the sidelines through the years, with his bald pate and hound-dog eyes. There was also his trademark habit: He chewed on folded white towels as a way to ease the tension.
The Bulldogs ended their season Wednesday with an 81-75 loss to Temple in the NIT. They finished 19-15, only the second time in Tarkanian's 31 years in Division I his team failed to win 20 games.
Tarkanian, whose career has been marred by scandal and battles with the NCAA, complained that problems off the court hurt the team.
This year, star point guard Tito Maddox was dismissed from the team in August for accepting gifts from an agent. Maddox' replacement, Chris Sandy, was suspended for receiving a loan to pay for a community college course. Leading scorer Melvin Ely missed six games for receiving improper benefits.
Tarkanian has a 778-202 record, with most of his success coming at UNLV. He coached the Rebels to 18 NCAA tournaments, reaching the semifinals four times. He also coached at Long Beach State.
Tarkanian returned to Fresno State, where he graduated in 1955, after a brief stint coaching the San Antonio Spurs.