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YouTube Gold: Midnight Luther vs. Tark The Shark

One of the more interesting rivalries in college basketball history

Arizona Coach Lute Olson and UNLV Coach Jerry Tarkanian
UNITED STATES - DECEMBER 10: College Basketball: Closeup of Arizona coach Lute Olson (R) talking with UNLV coach Jerry Tarkanian (L) before game, Tucson, AZ 12/10/1988
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A bit of time has gone by and people forget or weren’t around when Lute Olson and Jerry Tarkanian had, shall we say, issues.

Tarkanian had coached at Long Beach and was succeeded there by Olson. Tark finished his time there with four outstanding seasons, finishing his last season at 26-3.

He moved to UNLV the following season, and Olson took over at Long Beach.

He said he had heard rumors of probation but the school assured him, apparently falsely, that this was not true.

It was, and he was not happy with Tark. Nonetheless, Olson’s brilliance showed as LBSU finished 24-2. After that season, he left Long Beach behind, returning to the Midwest at Iowa.

Later he moved to Arizona and the rivalry rekindled. It heated to the point where death threats were issued and the schools put the series on pause.

Tark - hilariously - called Olson Midnight Luther for his knack for stealing recruits late. For his part, Olson held Tark in contempt for his own questionable recruiting practices.

Later though they reconciled and became good friends. In this video, Olson talks about their initial distaste for each other and their later reconciliation, which sounds sincere and heartfelt.

Competition is one of the toughest things to overcome but they appear to have done so quite well.