Lois Tarkanian was the wife of Hall of Fame basketball coach Jerry Tarkanian. Jerry was in a Las Vegas hospital battling for his life and was in “very critical condition”, according to ESPN, before succumbing to a respiratory ailment and infection. He was 84-years-old.
Lois a Las Vegas City councilwoman and was married to Jerry for 59 years. Together they had four children and 11 grandchildren.
Read on to learn more about this legendary coach’s equally influential wife.
1. She Has Her Doctorate
According to her Las Vegas City councilwoman bio, Lois has her doctorate in leadership and human behavior and thus can be addressed as “Dr. Tarkanian.”
Prior degrees include a bachelor of arts in education and a master of arts in speech pathology.
Before becoming involved in city politics, Lois was an educator and held various classroom positions including:
…a classroom teacher, a speech pathologist, principal, central office administrator and Nevada Community College and California State University instructor. In private practice she founded Oralingua, the first private day school for deaf children in California, and also initiated Nevada’s first full inclusion program for deaf children in the demonstration pre-school at the Community College of Southern Nevada. She also held national clinical certification in speech pathology, language, and audiology and did clinical work with autistic, deaf and aphasic children.
2. She First Ran for Office in 2005
Lois first sought city office in 2005 and has held a councilwoman position since then.
the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada board, the Clark County Regional Flood Control District Board, the Southern Nevada Health District Board, the Making Recycling Work Committee, the Springs Preserve Board of Trustees and the Audit Oversight Committee.
She had also worked on state level projects dealing with nuclear power.
3. She Was Married to Jerry for 59 Years
Lois was married to Jerry for 59 years before his passing on February 11, 2015.
Together they had four children. One of their sons, Danny Tarkanian, followed in both his parent’s footsteps. Danny was an All-American Honorable Mention college basketball player and played under his father at University of Nevada Las Vegas. In the late 2000s he tried his hand at politics, winning the Republican nomination for Nevada secretary of state in the 2006 primary but losing the general election. He also tried to run an eventually unsuccessful campaign for the U.S. Senate seat held by Harry Reid.
Jerry and Lois’ granddaughter also carried on the basketball gauntlet.
Their granddaughter Dannielle Diamant plays for Northwestern University women’s basketball team.
4. She Didn’t Want to Move to Las Vegas
Lois and Jerry had been living in California when Jerry was offered a job in Las Vegas.
Before he could make the jump from Long Beach State to UNLV, Tarkanian first had to persuade his wife it was a good idea to move their family to a city with an unsavory reputation. Lois Tarkanian recalled her husband’s sales pitch during a speech she gave at UNLV in October 2013.
“Lois,” Tarkanian told her, “We’re here in Long Beach, and this is not a college town. It’s not a Long Beach State town. This is USC. This is UCLA. If we go to Las Vegas, I will tell you, that’s a college town.”
5. No Word Yet on Memorial
The family has not released a statement for memorial services for “Tark the Shark” as of this time.