Danny Tarkanian’s Family: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

Danny Tarkanian family, Danny Tarkanian Nevada, Dean Heller challenger

Getty Danny Tarkanian in March 2015.

Danny Tarkanian, a perennial candidate for office in Nevada, announced plans to run against Senator Dean Heller, a fellow Republican who has been critical of President Donald Trump. The 55-year-old Tarkanian is the son of famous UNLV basketball coach Jerry Tarkanian.

Tarkanian launched his campaign during an early morning interview on Fox & Friends. Since the segment aired at 4 a.m. local time in Nevada, Roll Call suggests Tarkanian picked that time to see if he could catch Trump’s attention.

In addition to being the son of a famous college basketball coach, Tarkanian is known in Nevada for frequently running for office and losing. He ran for the Nevada State Senate in 2004, Secretary of State in 2006 and U.S. Senate in 2010 and lost each time. In 2012, he ran to represent Nevada’s 4th Congressional district and tried to beat Democrat Jacky Rosen to represent the state’s 3rd Congressional District. He lost both elections.

You can follow Tarkanian on Twitter.

Here’s a look at Tarkanian’s family.

1. Tarkanian Is the Son of Legendary UNLV Coach Jerry Tarnkanian

Tarkanian is the son of the late Jerry Tankanian, the legendary University of Nevada Las Vegas Runnin’ Rebels basketball coach. Jerry Tarkanian coached college basketball for 31 seasons and was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2003. He died in Las Vegas in 2015 at age 84.

As ESPN noted in its obituary for Jerry Tarkanin, he earned the nickname “Tark the Shark” and led the Rebels to four Final Fours. In 1990, he won the national championship.

Jerry Tarkanian was named National Coach of the Year in 1977, 1983, 1984 and 1990. He also coached at Long Beach State and Fresno State. In 1992, he coached the San Antonio Spurs, but returned to the college level in 1995. He retired with a 706–198 record.

2. His Mother Lois Serves as a Las Vegas City Councilwoman

Danny Tarkanian family, Danny Tarkanian Nevada, Dean Heller challenger

GettyDanny Tarkanian at a Las Vegas Trump tally in 2016.

While Tarkanian hasn’t had success with elections, Tarkanian’s mother Lois Tarkanian has. She represents Las Vegas Ward 1 on the LAs Vegas City Council.

Lois Tarkanian was first elected in 2005. She ran for re-election in 2015.

Before joining the city council, Lois Tarkanian was an educator. She has a B.A. in education, a Masters in speech pathology and a Doctorate in leadership and human behavior. She was an instructor at Nevada Community College and California State University, and later founded Oralingua, a private school for deaf children in California.

Lois Tarkanian was also a member of the Clark County Board of School Trustees for 12 years and is a board member on other education organizations in Las Vegas and Clark County.

3. His Wife Is Amy Tarkanian, a Former State GOP Chair & RNC Delegate

Tarkanian is married to Amy Hanson Tarkanian and the couple have four children. They married in 2011.

Amy Tarkanian is also active in the local Republican party. In 2011, she was elected chairwoman of the Nevada State Republican Party. However, her tenure was short. She resigned in January 2012 before Tarkanian began his unsuccessful Congressional campaign.

“Throughout my time as Chairman of the Nevada Republican Party, I have strived to not only advance the party by increasing fundraising and voter registration, but also by showing that we are the party which is virtuous and ethical,” Amy Tarkanian said in a statement at the time. “So, in the spirit of fairness and what I feel is right, I have decided to step down as the Party Chair. Control of Congress is vital for the future of our country and the goals we have set for our party. I believe I can best serve the Republican Party by helping take a congressional seat that the Democrats have already included as theirs.”

Tarkanian also served as a Nevada delegate to the 2016 Republican National Convention in Cleveland.

4. His Youngest Son Jerry Jr. Suffered an Ischemic Stroke, Inspiring Him to Launch the Tark Toy Drive

In April 2015, Tarkanian’s youngest son Jerry Jr. suffered an ischemic stroke when he was five years old. Jerry Jr. made an incredible recovery, but his son’s scare inspired him to launch Tark Toy Drive.

The non-profit not only helps young children by providing them with toys, but also raises awareness for pediatric stroke. The organization had its first toy drive delivery in June 2015, when Jerry Jr. helped drop toys off for children at Children’s Hospital of Nevada UMC.

When Jerry Jr. had his stroke, his parents told the Associated Press that Jerry Jr. had no health problems before the stroke. He complained about pains in his legs, so his parents rushed him to the hospital. He was in the hospital for a weekend before he was released and treated by a home nurse.

5. He Has 3 Siblings – Pamela, George & Jodie

Tarkanian is the third of four children. His siblings are sisters Jodie and Pamela and brother George.

Jodie Diamant is the mother of Dannielle Lois Diamant, who played college basketball at Northwestern. Today, Danielle plays pro basketball in Israel when she’s not working as a coach at Tarkanian Basketball Academy. She also earned a Master’s degree at the Chicago School of Professional Psychology.

George Tarkanian made headlines in Las Vegas by filing for bankruptcy after a failed real estate deal during his brother’s 2012 campaign, notes the Las Vegas Sun. Their mother told the Las Vegas Sun that George has a “rare genetic disease” which made it difficult for him to work. Before he faced health problems, George Tarkanian also coached basketball.

Pamela Tarkanian works for the Clark County School District.