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Ex-UNLV aide Tim Grgurich undergoes heart surgery

Former UNLV assistant and head coach Tim Grgurich is recovering in a Los Angeles hospital after having two separate procedures to clear blockages in his heart late last week.

Grgurich, 72, has been working with the Milwaukee Bucks as an assistant coach this season.

“He’s going to be fine,” Grgurich’s agent, Warren LeGarie, said Sunday. “The doctors ran some tests on him, found some things they were concerned about and addressed those issues. He’s resting and doing well and he should be out of the hospital sometime later this week.”

Two weeks ago, the Bucks were preparing to board a plane bound for London where they were scheduled to participate in the NBA’s Global Games on Jan. 15. And while the Bucks were headed East to England, Grgurich was also on a plane. But his flight was headed to the West Coast. He had complained of fatigue after administering his famous pregame workouts. Grgurich headed to Santa Barbara, Calif., to see his physician Dr. James Murray.

Murray ran a battery of tests on Grgurich, and when some issues with his heart were diagnosed he ran further tests. Grgurich was admitted last week to the University of Southern California Medical Center, had the procedures done and is expected to make a full recovery.

“I don’t know when he’ll be back on the court but he’ll definitely be back this season,” LeGarie said of Grgurich’s timetable for a return to the Bucks, who have been one of the surprise stories in the NBA this year. Milwaukee is currently in third place in the Central Division at 22-22 and if the season ended today, the Bucks would make the playoffs as the No. 6 seed in the Eastern Conference.

Grgurich, who came to UNLV as an assistant to then-head coach Jerry Tarkanian in 1981, stayed in that position through 1992. He then took a job on George Karl’s staff with the Seattle Supersonics only to leave the NBA in the fall of 1994 to return to UNLV, this time as head coach.

However, the stress of the job of trying to bring the Rebels back to their previous glory earlier in the decade took a toll on Grgurich’s health. He resigned after just seven games, eventually returning to the NBA and the Sonics.

Grgurich, regarded as one of pro basketball’s top assistant coaches, stayed with the Sonics until 1998. He moved to Portland that year and stayed until 2001, when he followed Karl to Milwaukee for the 2001-02 season. He later worked at Phoenix from 2002 to 2004, Denver from 2005 to 2010, Dallas from 2010 to 2012, Cleveland in 2013 and now, with the Bucks for a second go-round.

Grgurich has a national championship ring as an assistant coach with UNLV in 1990 and he also has an NBA championship ring as a member of Rick Carlisle’s staff in 2011.

Contact reporter Steve Carp at scarp@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2913. Follow him on Twitter: @stevecarprj.

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