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Decades before the Super Bowl came to town, Jerry Tarkanian and UNLV formed Las Vegas into a sports town WFTV [Video]

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LAS VEGAS — The Super Bowl will be played here Sunday, some 51 years after Jerry Tarkanian drove his wife Lois into what was then an old military outpost turned mobbed-up Sin City oasis.

Tark was, at the time, a 43-year-old basketball coach who had just led Long Beach State to the Elite Eight of the NCAA tournament. He felt if he could just get a school in the right location — a college town, a sports town with a passionate fan base — he could win a national title.

Sure, but UNLV? Las Vegas? In 1973? People came here for the slot machines and showgirls and heaven who knows what else. The school had just a few buildings. The basketball team had just gone DI and had almost no fans.

“I may have been the only person who thought Las Vegas, Nevada was a sports town,” said Tark, before his passing in 2015. “People laughed …

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