Tuesday , June 25 2024

Coach Jerry Tarkanian Leaves Behind a Lasting Legacy

Legendary coach Jerry Tarkanian is remembered by people across the Central Valley.  Even if you didn’t know him personally, you probably knew of him. Tarkanian impacted the community and leaves behind a lasting legacy in the Central Valley.

Coach Tark was instrumental in bringing Fresno’s Savemart center to the city. He also made impacts across the community. As people mourn his passing, they’re also remembering the legacies he leaves behind.

Fresno Save Mart Center has been appropriately nicknamed ‘the house that Tark built’ and Wednesday, the marquee in front of the venue honored the life of Jerry Tarkanian.

Fresno state vp of ??? Debbie Astone says, " We would not have this facility without coach Tarkanian."

It’s just one of several gifts the local legend left behind.

" He will always be with us and will always be a part of this building," says Astone.

Inside of the Save Mart Center, Tarkanian is plastered everywhere – in the rafters where a jersey hangs in his name and in a display case where his memorabilia shines;  memories of some very unforgettable years.

Close friend Rob Saroyan says,  " It was an electric time in Fresno and in the valley."

He’s known as one of the greats.  Coach ‘Tark’ was often referred to as one of the best college basketball coaches of all time. In 1956 he got his start at San Joaquin Memorial High School, where he coached his very first basketball team.  Old yearbook pictures document the time he spent there.

San Joaquin Memorial High School Athletic Director Anthony Goston says, " Someone of that stature went on and did great things in college and to know that he got his start at San Joaquin memorial is very unique for us, so it holds a special place."

Off the court, Tarkanian spent most of his time at the Elbow Room, where he drank red wine and enjoyed the company of anyone and everyone.

Elbow Room owner Mike Shirinian says, "He was here 7 days a week."

Now, Tarkanian’s spirit is hanging on the wall in a mural, where he’s the center of attention just like he was while he was living.

Though the iconic coach will be missed,  pieces of him are everywhere and his legacy lives on.

Shirinian says, " The legacy is going to be part of the Fresno community and sports lore forever.  His impact and influence I think is pretty timeless."

Quincy Pondexter, an NBA player  who played basketball and attended school at San Joaquin Memorial High School,  tweeted Wednesday saying quote " Wouldn’t be in the NBA today if it wasn’t for you coach Tarkanian. Thanks for all you did for my family,  basketball and the city of Fresno."

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