Former Utah Jazz Head Coach Jerry Sloan, a member of the NBA Hall-of-Fame, has passed away at the age of 78. He led the Jazz for 23 seasons, compiling a .623 winning percentage with 1127 wins in 1809 games coaches. Behind Karl Malone and John Stockton, Sloan’s Jazz reached the NBA Finals in 1996-97 and 1997-98.
Retiring after a 10-year career playing for the Washington Bullets and Chicago Bulls between 1965 and 1976, Sloan became an Assistant Coach for the Bulls in 1977. The next season he was named head Coach, a post he filled for three seasons, making the playoffs once. He spent four years as an assistant on Utah’s bench before assuming his now-familiar lead role on the Jazz sideline in 1988. He’d keep that position until he stepped down 54 games into the 2010-11 season.
Sloan was known for winning, attention to detail, and not holding back when going after referees, opponents, and sometimes his own players. He was inducted into the Hall-of-Fame in 2009.
The Jazz report that Sloan died of complications related to Parkinson’s disease and Lewy body dementia. They have issued this statement upon Sloan’s passing:
“Jerry Sloan will always be synonymous with the Utah Jazz. He will forever be a part of the Utah Jazz organization and we join his family, friends and fans in mourning his loss. We are so thankful for what he accomplished here in Utah and the decades of dedication, loyalty and tenacity he brought to our franchise.
“Our Hall of Fame coach for 23 years, Jerry had a tremendous impact on the Jazz franchise as expressed by his banner hanging in the arena rafters. His 1,223 Jazz coaching wins, 20 trips to the NBA Playoffs and two NBA Finals appearances are remarkable achievements. His hard-nosed approach only made him more beloved. Even after his retirement, his presence at Jazz games always brought a roaring response from the crowd.
“Like Stockton and Malone as players, Jerry Sloan epitomized the organization. He will be greatly missed. We extend our heartfelt condolences to his wife, Tammy, the entire Sloan family and all who knew and loved him.”
Portland Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard offered this in response to the news this morning.
Former Blazers and Bulls forward Scottie Pippen also remembered the Hall-of-Fame coach.
I loved everything about Jerry Sloan, from the way he played to the way he coached. He was a tenacious competitor who represented the Bulls of the 70s so well. Jerry became one of my favorite coaches when he was on the 1996 Dream Team staff and it was an honor to learn from him. pic.twitter.com/pEhbmiFbzp— Scottie Pippen (@ScottiePippen) May 22, 2020