Congressman Costa Statement On Loss Of Coach Jerry Tarkanian


Congressional Documents and Publications
February 11, 2015

Rep. Jim Costa (D-CA) News Release


Congressman Costa was saddened to learn about the passing of
basketball Hall of Fame coach Jerry Tarkanian. A graduate of Fresno
State University, Coach Tarkanian never forgot his humble Armenian
beginnings or the colleges and universities where he coached for
31 years. His incredible success as a collegiate basketball coach,
with 729 victories, was clearly demonstrated throughout his career,
from taking UNLV to win the national championship in 1990, leading Long
Beach State to four straight NCAA tournament appearances, including the
1971 West Regional Final, and then returning to his alma mater, Fresno
State, where he had 153 victories and six straight 20-win seasons.

“After Coach Tarkanian came back to Fresno State, his alma mater,
I had a happenstance meeting with basketball great, Magic Johnson,
while in a gym in Southern California,” said Costa. “I introduced
myself to Johnson and told him where I was from. His first questions
to me were ‘How is the Red Wave? Are the people excited to have
Coach Tarkanian at Fresno State?’ I told him that the community was
excited and that as a graduate of the University, a successful coach,
and an Armenian, Coach Tarkanian was a great source of pride for
our Valley. Magic responded by telling me something I didn’t know:
that Coach Tarkanian was known around inner city playgrounds in
America as the coach of second chances. When talented young athletes
who had gotten in trouble still wanted to pursue their dreams on the
basketball court, Coach Tarkanian was willing to give many of them a
second chance. Johnson went on to say that there was no doubt in his
mind that Coach Tarkanian would do well during his tenure at Fresno
State. He then told me that he had to go to a pickup game, but to
“tell Jerry and the Red Wave that Magic said hi.”

“Coach Tarkanian, thank you for being a friend to so many of us and
more importantly, making a difference in the lives of many young men,
to whom you gave a second chance.”

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