Campus: CSU Fresno -- March 18, 2002

Legendary CSU Fresno Coach Jerry Tarkanian Retires, Accepts New Role with Save Mart Center

Jerry Tarkanian, one of the winningest coaches in college basketball history, announced today (March 15) that he is retiring as head coach of the Fresno State men's basketball team.
Tarkanian, who completed his 38th season as a college coach, is one of the nation's truly legendary college basketball coaches and among the top five active coaches in career winning percentage. His 778 career wins as a Division I coach ranks him seventh highest in the history of collegiate basketball.

Even though he is retiring as men's basketball coach, Tarkanian will continue to be associated with Fresno State. Coach Tarkanian will serve as a senior development consultant to The Save Mart Center at Fresno State. (See description of new role.)

The Save Mart Center and its 16,000-seat arena will be a centerpiece of the Fresno State campus and the home of Fresno State basketball. The $100-million-plus facility is under construction and is slated for opening in November 2003. The facility is the largest privately supported building ever undertaken by a California State University campus.

"Coach Tarkanian indicated to me his desire continue his support for Fresno State by serving in this important new role," Welty said. "I am pleased the university will continue to benefit from Jerry Tarkanian's knowledge and experience as we bring the Save Mart Center online."

Tarkanian never had a losing season as a college coach and won at least 20 games in six of his seven seasons at Fresno State. That is the longest 20-win streak in school history.

His all-time record is 990-228 and a 153-80 record with the Bulldogs.

"I'm excited about being able to finish my career here at Fresno State," said Tarkanian, who is a 1955 graduate of Fresno State. "I've always said this would be my last coaching job and I'm pleased with the progress we have made. It's gratifying that I was able to help my alma mater and that I will still be in a position to continue to help the development of The Save Mart Center here at Fresno State."

Fresno State Athletic Director Scott Johnson said, "Coach Tarkanian has had an amazing career and he has taken the Fresno State program to level of national prominence."

Johnson said having Tarkanian maintain a relationship with the Save Mart Center after his retirement as coach would enable the basketball program to "continue an orderly transition to the Save Mart Center."

Johnson said a committee will be formed as soon as possible to begin the search for a new men's basketball coach. The committee is expected to include representatives of the university, the community, the alumni and the Bulldog Foundation.

"We're looking ahead at attracting a new coach who will, over the next four to five years, be able to build his own team on the great foundation established by Coach
Tarkanian," Johnson said.

"We're very pleased that the coach is making the commitment to assist the Save Mart Center," Johnson said.

Tarkanian guided the Bulldogs to two consecutive NCAA tournament appearances and averaged 25.1 wins per season.

Last season, he guided the Bulldogs to a 26-7 record, reaching the second round of the NCAA tournament. The 26 wins are the second-most in school history. In addition, Fresno State had a school-record tying 13-game winning streak. The Bulldogs spent the second half of the season ranked in the top 25. Tarkanian was selected by his peers as the 2001 Don Haskins Award winner as WAC Coach of the Year.

He guided the Bulldogs to six consecutive 20-win seasons and seven straight postseason appearances. During the 1999-00 season, he led the Bulldogs to the NCAA tournament, ending a 16-year drought for the school. Last season, he led the Bulldogs to their first-ever WAC championship and a first round NCAA tournament win over California. Each of the last two seasons, the Bulldogs were eliminated from the NCAA tournament by teams that advanced to the Final Four.

Tarkanian, 71, who will turn 72 in August, began his college coaching career in 1961. His 29 20-win seasons ranks only behind North Carolina's Dean Smith, who had 30 20-win seasons--the most in collegiate history.

Tarkanian and his wife, Lois, also a Fresno State graduate, donated $100,000 to the university's Madden Library in the spring of 1998 and initiated the "Baskets for Books" program, designed to continually support the library with annual book purchases. The Tarkanians have four children, Pamela, Jodie, Danny (an assistant coach at Fresno State) and George (coach at Community College of Southern Nevada) and seven grandchildren.

"Tark will have an enduring legacy here at Fresno State; as a student, a player, an alumnus, a coach and as a person who really cares about improving this community," Johnson said.

Jerry TarkanianTARK'S NEW ROLE

Retiring Fresno State Men's Basketball Coach Jerry Tarkanian will have an important, ongoing role with the university as the Senior Development Consultant for the Save Mart Center. This arrangement enables Coach Tarkanian to remain vitally involved with his alma mater as he builds support for the Save Mart Center. The university also gains the benefit of having Coach Tarkanian's experience available as the Save Mart Center heads toward its opening day.

Coach Tarkanian will be a highly visible member of the Save Mart Center management team. He will represent the Save Mart Center in Central California and throughout the nation. During the year there will be many opportunities to highlight Coach Tarkanian's achievements as coach and recognize his contribution to sport as he undertakes his new role with the Save Mart Center.

Tarkanian will relocate his office to the Save Mart Center management offices located at 1530 E. Shaw Ave., Suite 109. That office handles all of the marketing and sales for the Save Mart Center and has coordinated the center's highly successful Personal Seat License campaign. That campaign has already seen over 80 percent of the seats in the new center reserved by Bulldog fans, students and major donors.

The continuation of fund raising to support the Save Mart Center at Fresno State is a vital part of the ongoing development program within the university. There are still many key gift opportunities, including a few luxury suites and Personal Seat Licenses available at various levels that require direct "sales" efforts. A strong, well-connected, highly visible professional is needed to work in concert with the Vice President for University Advancement and key prospective donors for these projects.

Fresno State's University Advancement Office will provide office space, secretarial support, meeting and travel expenses appropriate to successfully complete the plan for the development of key prospective major gift donors for the Save Mart Center.

In his new role at Fresno State, Coach Tarkanian will:

  • Develop plans and strategies regarding key major gifts. As senior consultant, he will work directly with the Fresno State's Vice President for University Advancement.

  • Make direct contacts with assigned prospective major gift donors in concert with the Vice President of University Advancement, entertain these prospective donors both on and off campus and travel when necessary.

  • Be available to the University Development Staff for special events and individual meetings, where appropriate, at the direction of the Vice President of University Advancement.

  • Work with the Save Mart Center staff in the sale of luxury suites and Personal Seat Licenses.

More information at

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