Former UNLV coach Jerry Tarkanian in good spirits after suffering mild heart attack

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Former UNLV head coach Jerry Tarkanian and other members of the 1986-1987 Final Four Rebels team are honored at halftime of the UNLV game against San Diego State Saturday, Feb. 11, 2012. At left is Eldridge Hudson, a power forward on the legendary team.

Former UNLV basketball coach Jerry Tarkanian will stay the night at MountainView Hospital after suffering a mild heart attack Tuesday afternoon.

Tarkanian, 81, was in good spirits Tuesday night and could be released as early as Wednesday, said his daughter Jodie Diamant, who was with him all day.

Diamant said Tarkanian came down with bronchitis on March 12, possibly related to a trip he took to Fresno, Calif., just before that. He had undergone a breathing treatment last week and had been doing OK since then.

On Tuesday, Diamant took Tarkanian to a routine exam with his dermatologist, and he was congested during the visit. Diamant was having trouble getting another breathing treatment scheduled, so his pulmonologist advised her to take him to the MountainView emergency room, because it was just across the street, and get him checked out.

“When they gave him the EKG,” Diamant said, “they called me back there … and said he might be having a heart attack.”

The doctors determined that Tarkanian had suffered a mild heart attack to a small vessel. His shortness of breath was the only symptom he ever showed.

Diamant said Tarkanian’s cardiologist advised against surgery because the problem was so small.

“For him to go in and do something is more risky than just letting it go,” Diamant said. “… Everything else was working really well.”

The afternoon was “a bit of a scare,” but it didn’t take Tark long to feel like himself again.

“He’s cracking jokes,” Diamant said. “The nurses were asking him who’s going to win the tournament?”

And his answer?

Kentucky.

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  1. He's in good hands there. I've been there twice with blocked arteries and both times they had stents in me within 3 hours. I have no doubt they saved my life both times. They know their stuff. The nursing staff in the CCU is outstanding!

  2. God Bless you Coach. We wish you a speedy recovery.

  3. Hang in there Tark a lot of memories still to be had.
    Get well soon

  4. Hope you are feeling better Tark, keep healthy!

  5. Can't keep a good Shark down. Throw the guy a towel to chew on and he will be just fine. Here is to a quick recovery Coach!

  6. Get well Coach!