Path to Power
Born in Redlands, Calif., Tarkanian grew up in a family that focused on competition and education. The education came from his mother, who taught children with special needs and opened the first private school for the deaf in California. The competition came from his father, Jerry, who coached the University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV) basketball team, and won the 1990 national championship.
Basketball Star and Coach
Danny Tarkanian took both qualities to UNLV, playing point guard for his father while also becoming the school's first Rhodes Scholar candidate.
In August 2009, Tarkanian threw his name into the race to unseat Reid. The Senate majority leader continued to face a fierce backlash over the state of the economy, which greatly hurt job prospects in Nevada. Plus, Reid was the face of President Obama's first-year agenda, including health-care reform efforts stalled in Congress. In early polling, Tarkanian lead Reid by 7 points in a hypothetical match-up.
But his competition in the June 8 GOP primary soon pulled ahead. With an endorsement from the influential Tea Pary Express, Assemblywoman Sharron Angle beat Tarkanian and Sue Lowden.