RICHMOND, Va. -- Beginning with the 2015-16 season, when Spider basketball teams are victorious in the Robins Center, the triumphs will be accomplished and celebrated on a floor named for the school’s all-time winningest coach.
“We are proud to honor our legendary Hall of Fame coach Dick Tarrant, and those who played for him and coached with him, in naming the Robins Center floor Dick Tarrant Court,” announced Director of Athletics Keith Gill. “Coach Tarrant not only led the program through one of its most successful eras, but he embodies Richmond Basketball. This is the perfect tribute to recognize the impact that Coach Tarrant had on the Spider community.”
Richmond is the first of the 14 NCAA Division I schools in Virginia to name its basketball court for a head coach. A ceremony honoring coach Tarrant and christening the Dick Tarrant Court logo on the floor will be held at the season-opening men’s basketball game, Friday Nov. 13 when the Spiders host long-time rival James Madison.
Tarrant’s Spider teams posted a record of 239-126 (.655) during 12 seasons from 1981-1993, including an impressive 127-36 (.779) mark on the Robins Center court. Tarrant led the Spiders to eight 20-win seasons, four Colonial Athletic Association championships, five NCAA Tournament appearances and four trips to the National Invitational Tournament.
''I can't fully comprehend why so many wonderful things are happening to me -- 20 years after my retirement,” said Tarrant. “Coaches and athletes are normally soon forgotten at the conclusion of their careers. This tremendous tribute is often times reserved for Hall of Fame coaches such as Coach K, Lou Carnesecca and others. So, I am thankful to all those who were instrumental in this honor. I am flattered beyond words.”
Tarrant gained national notice with NCAA Tournament victories against Auburn in 1984, Indiana and Georgia Tech in 1988 on the way to Richmond’s first Sweet Sixteen appearance, and against Syracuse in 1991, making Richmond the first 15 seed to defeat a 2 seed in the NCAA first round.
This past season, two additional honors were bestowed upon him. The new, live Spider mascot for the men’s basketball team was named “Tarrant” in an overwhelming fan vote. Coach Tarrant was also named Richmond’s representative to the Atlantic 10 Conference’s Legends Class of 2015, which was honored at the A-10 men’s basketball tournament at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.
A native of Englewood, New Jersey, Tarrant came to Richmond as an assistant coach in 1978, and he became head coach in 1981. He was named CAA coach of the year four times.
Tarrant was inducted into the University of Richmond Athletics Hall of Fame in 1994 and the Virginia State Hall of Fame in 2013. As head coach, eleven of his former players have been inducted into the UR Athletics Hall of Fame and the 1988 Sweet 16 team was honored as the 2005-06 Team of Distinction.