As the NCAA Tournament heats, we take a look back at the lives of two legendary coaches who recently passed away, Jerry Tarkanian and Dean Smith. Jerry Tarkanian passed away on February 11, 2015. Known fondly as Tark the Shark. Tarkanian got his start with Long Beach State. After leading the 49ers to the 1973 Western Region semi finals against eventual national champions UCLA, Tarkanian took over the program at the University of Las Vegas. From 1973-1992 Tarkanian took the less than stellar program and turned it into a national powerhouse. His lock tight defense and runnin offense made the game exciting and brought him stardom in the Entertainment Capital of the World. In 1990, Tark, with towel in mouth, led the Runnin Rebels to a national title. Tarkanian was elected into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2013.
Dean Smith coached the University of North Carolina from 1961-1997, finishing with 879 victories to his name. Smith learned his hoops from his University of Kansas coach, Phog Allen, who in turn was taught by the games founder, James Naismith. Smith played on the 1952 Jayhawks National Championship team. After college, Smith became the assistant at UNC and was hired as the full time coach in 1961. During this time, Smith played an important part in desegregating the college game in the south. During his tenure, Smith led the Tar Heels to two national titles. Smith passed away on February 7, 2015.