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Exhibit Highlight: The Game Ball: March Madness 1990

By Su Kim Chung on March 9, 2015 6:14 PM | Permalink
  • The Game Ball : The 1990 NCAA Championship Game Ball, signed by Coach Jerry Tarkanian and the entire team, presented to Rossi Ralenkotter, President and CEO of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Center. Loaned by the Las Vegas News Bureau, LVCVA

  • Coach Jerry Tarkanian chewing on a towel during a tense game moment - his signature move. Photo from the University Archives, Special Collections.

  • Front page of the UNLV student newspaper The Yellin Rebel, April 1990. From the University Archives, Special Collections.

  • Coach Jerry Tarkanian in action. Photo from the University Archives, Special Collections.


Peter Michel, Head of Exhibits, has curated an exhibit celebrating Jerry Tarkanian, March Madness, and the Game That Put UNLV on the Map!

Check it out on the 1st floor of Lied Library, near Media Services to see THE game ball used in the 1990 championship game. Here's a brief excerpt from the exhibit. 


When Moses Scurry asked Tarkanian about playing in Denver’s mile-high altitude after the team arrived for the 1990 Final Four, Tarkanian said, “Moses, don’t worry about it. We’re playing indoors.”

“The secret is to have eight great players and four others who will cheer like crazy.”

Hall of Fame coach Jerry Tarkanian, “Tark the Shark", was a legend in college basketball, winning 729 games in a career spanning the years 1968-2002. His .790 win percentage is still one of the best in men's basketball. His reputation is forever associated with UNLV where he won 509 games with the Runnin' Rebels, taking four teams to the NCAA Final Four and winning the national championship in 1990. Tark and his fast-running, high-scoring teams electrified the crowds that filled the Convention Center and then Thomas & Mack and ignited the enthusiasm of an entire city. Tarkanian and his UNLV Basketball Teams brought big-time, high-profile sports and national media attention to UNLV and Las Vegas.

The 1990 NCAA Championship game in which Tarkanian’s team crushed Duke 103-73 was the most dominant showing ever on a Final Four stage. No other team has ever scored more than 100 points in a title game or defeated its opponent by such a large margin. That 1990 UNLV team remains one of the greatest college basketball teams in history.

~~Peter Michel, Head of Exhibits, Special Collections