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Fresno State’s tributes to Jerry Tarkanian include an empty seat on the bench for Saturday’s game

Jerry Tarkanian

Jerry Tarkanian


Two days after former Long Beach State, UNLV and Fresno State head coach Jerry Tarkanian passed away at 84, Fresno State announced on Thursday that it will honor the memory of its former coach in multiple ways over the next few days.

Beginning with Saturday’s home game against Boise State, uniforms will have a “Tark” patch and there will also be a moment of silence preceding the game and a video tribute at halftime. The school will also have cards that fans can sign before heading into Save Mart Arena for the game.

In addition to these measures, Fresno State head coach Rodney Terry will leave an empty seat on the bench in Tarkanian’s memory, with a white towel “occupying” that seat.

The white towel was something Tarkanian began to use as a high school coach in California, as it was easier to use a damp towel when thirsty as opposed to making frequent trips to the gym water fountain. And with his team winning a league title on that day, the superstitious Tarkanian continued to use the towel for the remainder of his career.

Fresno State will also lower its flags to half -staff on Monday, which is when a private service will be held for Tarkanian in Las Vegas.

“Jerry Tarkanian is one of the true legends in the coaching profession,” Terry said earlier in the week. “He was successful at so many different levels in college basketball. Coach Tarkanian welcomed me in from the first day I arrived in Fresno. He loved the Bulldogs and stayed connected with our program throughout the years.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife Lois and family during this extremely difficult time.”