No matter where his basketball travels took him during his 31 seasons in NCAA Division I college basketball, controversy was never been far behind Jerry Tarkanian. The legendary former coach of the UNLV Runnin' Rebels proved himself to be one of the greatest coaches in the game's history, however, amassing an incredible overall record of 778-202, more wins than all but a handful of other coaches. He also had 29 20-win seasons, second all-time only to fellow legend Dean Smith of North Carolina, and never experienced a losing season.
This book is not like most typical coaching memoirs, which are often filled with eye-rolling, high-minded, self-serving coachspeak. Runnin' Rebel is Jerry Tarkanian unplugged, dishing his wildest, most ridiculous, and most hilarious recruiting stories, capers, and tales from a colorful career as college basketball's ultimate loveable rouge. "Tark the Shark," as fans affectionately called him, details dirty tricks and recruiting battles with people like Larry Brown, Lute Olson, and Joe B. Hall; the stories behind some of his greatest players and teams, including his 1990 national championship UNLV squad and three other Final Four qualifiers; the celebrity status and A-list friends (including Frank Sinatra) he gained while coaching in America's glitziest city; and what he really thought and believes about the iconic John Wooden and his unparalleled success at UCLA, sure to be an eye-opener for sports fans across the country.
Runnin' Rebel also tells the full story behind Tarkanian's many battles with the NCAA, often brought on by his criticism of the organization's blatant hypocrisy; his penchant for giving players he recruited a second chance, and his willingness to forgive player indiscretions when he thought it was justified. Despite all that, his players loved him (including the 42 who were drafted by NBA teams), the fans faithfully cheered him, and some of his achievements in college basketball may never be matched.