Dim lights to honor Jerry Tarkanian

LAS VEGAS — The lights of the Las Vegas Strip are expected to dim this week for deceased University of Nevada, Las Vegas basketball coach Jerry Tarkanian.

The uniquely Vegas tribute has honored Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., Ronald Reagan and John F. Kennedy.

Tarkanian, credited with elevating Las Vegas to the national stage for college basketball, died Feb. 11 at age 84. His family hosted a private funeral service Monday at Our Lady of Las Vegas.

Most Strip casinos have agreed to dim their non-essential exterior bulbs for a few minutes starting at 10:30 p.m. Wednesday in a tribute to the Hall of Fame coach. The moment’s timing is set to follow the end of a UNLV basketball home game against Boise State.

Casinos participating include all Caesars Entertainment Corp. and MGM Resorts properties on the Strip, The Cosmopolitan, Stratosphere, Tropicana and The Venetian and The Palazzo, according to the companies and the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority.

Off-Strip resorts including the Hard Rock Hotel and South Point casino also will join in, along with locals-only Station Casinos and the digital canopy above Fremont Street.

It might not have happened had it not been for a social media push by a pair of UNLV alumni, Tony Cordasco and Scott Gulbransen.

The friends set up a Twitter account and Facebook page asking casinos to honor Coach Tark. It received such a groundswell of attention that local media picked up the story, adding momentum to their push.

Both said Tarkanian deserved the fitting tribute reserved for a select crowd of influential figures, entertainers and an annual “Earth Hour” tribute.

“It will show people around the world what Las Vegas does for its own,” Gulbransen said.

“This is our ticker-tape parade,” Cordasco said.

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