Tulsa Man Remembers Time With Late Coaching Legend

Wednesday, February 11th 2015, 11:10 pm

For the second time in four days, college basketball has lost one of its most famous coaches.

Jerry Tarkanian passed away Wednesday morning at the age of 84.

Tarkanian, or “Tark the Shark”, won 729 games and lead UNLV to four Final Four appearances, winning a national title in 1990.

He later sued the NCAA for intentionally trying to run him out of college basketball. In the settlement he won $2.5 million.

The coach was well known for his curious sideline habit; he chewed on a wet towel during games.

Longtime News on 6 engineer Steve Parker was once in charge of those towels, serving as UNLV's student equipment manager from 1978-1980.

"He yelled a lot during the games, and he didn't want to keep going for a water bottle” said Parker. “Depending on the game, if it was somebody lightweight, it didn't have to be that wet. But, I'm sure for the NCAA championship game it was sopping wet.”

You couldn't just grab a towel and hand it to him; it wasn't that simple. "Fold it in half this way, and like I said, drench it," Parker stated.

Parker says Tarkanian never said much to him, but he appreciated one thing about the coach above everything else. "He cared about his players. He thought of them as family, and he was willing to give second chances."