For one of the few times in his basketball career, Jerry Tarkanian's short-term goals don't include the NCAA tournament. Instead of campaigning for a national title for his seventh-ranked Runnin' Rebels, Tarkanian will be campaigning for a cause.
His own."I want the truth to be known," Tarkanian said. "That's the only thing that matters right now. That the truth be out."
Tarkanian's version of the truth, of course, is that he was hoodwinked by UNLV administrators into submitting his resignation last summer after a Las Vegas newspaper published photos showing former UNLV players in a hot tub with convicted sports fixer Richard Perry.
He announced Sunday night at an emotional rally attended by several hundred supporters that he was rescinding that resignation - adding fuel to a bitter feud that has taken the spotlight from what may be one of his finest coaching performances ever.
Tarkanian may not be the favorite coach at UNLV, but he may be the favorite for coach of the year after taking five new starters and molding them into a team that has won 21 straight for a 24-2 record.
"Seventh-ranked in the country isn't too bad," Tarkanian said during Monday's practice. "It's not a big deal when you're going to the tournament, but it is when you're not."
Tarkanian was mute Monday about his plans to try to rescind his agreement to resign, but his attorneys said they would take the first step today by sending UNLV administrators a letter formally notifying them of the decision.
However, school officials have said the resignation is legal and binding, and will not be rescinded.
UNLV president Robert Maxson, asked Monday whether he might fire Tarkanian if the coach tried to stay, said that would not be necessary.
"There's no need to fire him," Maxson said. "There's not going to be any problem. Jerry made a commitment in good faith."