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Friend of UNLV’s Tarkanian Dies After Suffering Heart Attack at Tournament

Armen Sarafian, a former president of Pasadena City College and a longtime friend of Nevada Las Vegas Coach Jerry Tarkanian, suffered a massive cardiac arrest and collapsed in the stands at the end of the Big West Conference tournament final at the Long Beach Arena Saturday.

Efforts by paramedics and UNLV team Dr. Sam Russo to revive Sarafian failed, and he was taken to St. Mary Medical Center in Long Beach, where he was pronounced dead at 8:25 p.m., a hospital spokesperson said.

Sarafian hired Tarkanian as coach at Pasadena City College in 1966. Tarkanian described Sarafian, 67, as a “second father,” adding: “He talked to me before the game. And he said he’d see me afterward. He knew my mother and father. We’ve been close for 50 years.”

Paramedics and Russo administered cardiopulmonary resuscitation for about 20 minutes at the arena.

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Sarafian, who recently served as interim chancellor of the Peralta Community College District, was retired.


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