cover image Tark: College Basketball's Winningest Coach

Tark: College Basketball's Winningest Coach

Terry Pluto, Jerry Tarkanian. McGraw-Hill Companies, $17.95 (375pp) ISBN 978-0-07-062802-1

In addition to being the ``winningest'' basketball coach, Tarkanian is also one of the most controversial, particularly regarding his tenure at the University of Nevada Las Vegas. He made his reputation in California, especially at Long Beach State, where he refined the practice of recruiting from junior colleges. He had been at UNLV only a short time before the school was put on probation; he and sportswriter Pluto ( 48 Minutes ) make a convincing case here that he was unjustly persecuted by the NCAA. But, on the other source of controversy, namely that he recruits players with single-digit IQs, the denials are less persuasive. The book contains some tales of how assistant coaches babysit players, in the dormitories and even in the classroom, that border on the appalling, but, to the authors' credit, at least they are candid about it. (Dec.)