Pablo Sanchez, 34, leaves a small white towel at the base of the bronze sculpture honoring Jerry Tarkanian Wednesday morning. The UNLV Rebel fan made the pilgrimage when he heard the news that the coach passed away.
"Tarkanian, the iconic towel-chomping coach who put UNLV on the map as a national college basketball power and repeatedly clashed with the NCAA during his career, died Wednesday morning at Valley Hospital Medical Center. " R-J
"Jerry Tarkanian, the towel-biting, head-shaved, raspy-voiced coach who built the UNLV basketball program into a powerhouse and led the Rebels to the 1990 national championship, died today. He was 84." Las Vegas Sun
"The night before he died, fans attending UNLV's game against Fresno State draped towels over the statue of Tarkanian outside the campus arena. Tarkanian is depicted in the statue chewing on a towel while sitting in a courtside chair urging his team on." AP
From 2103, the Tarkanian bronze in process. Photo courtesy Hanlon Sculpture Studio
There are not many bronze statues in town. This one happened quickly. The project was announced in April 2013. The sculpture by Brian Hanlon was dedicated in October that same year. The bigger-than-life bronze is officially titled “The Jerry Tarkanian Legacy Project” reported the R-J in 2013. The beloved coach sits in his chair “and trademark towel in his mouth, a national title ring on his finger and an empty chair to his right. The ‘Ghost Chair,’ one of Tarkanian’s many superstitions, helps personify who he was — brilliant, yet quirky.”
Above: Krystal Ramirez “I Want to See More Brown Bodies” from 2017 will be reassembled at UNLV’s Barrick Museum of Art in Spring 2018.