Utah Jazz coach Jerry Sloan dies at 78

Nellie Chapman
May 23, 2020

Excelling on the defensive side of the ball, Sloan was named to an All-Defensive team six times. Not only on the basketball court but, more importantly, as a human being. "He knew a lot about the game, he was a student of the game, he learned a lot from [former Jazz coach Frank Layden] and as a player, he brought that to the players on the floor", Griffith said.

Sloan was a two-time All-Star and four-time All-Defensive First Team selection.

Opponents also paid homage to Sloan, including Oklahoma City Thunder guard Chris Paul and Pat Riley, the former Los Angeles Lakers, New York Knicks and Miami Heat head coach who is now the Heat's president.

Often described as hard-nosed, Sloan ranks second on the NBA's all-time list for consecutive games coached with one franchise (1,809), as well as the second-most wins with one team (1,127).

Overall, Sloan spent 23 seasons as the Jazz's coach, going 1,127-682 with 19 playoff berths.

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The team put out a statement mourning his loss.

In a statement released on Friday, the team said: 'Jerry Sloan will always be synonymous with the Utah Jazz.

Jerry Sloan won 1,000 games as the Jazz's head coach. On May 17th during NBA Inside Stuff's 90s Reunion, Jazz-great Karl Malone asked his fellow players to keep his former coach in their prayers: " Our coach Sloan is not doing well, so I want you guys to pray for coach Sloan". We are so thankful for what he accomplished here in Utah and the decades of dedication, loyalty and tenacity he brought to our franchise.

He became the franchise's head coach a year later and spent three years in the hotseat before a spell out of the limelight. "Just kind of stubbornness and nerves and all that played a part in why I never reached out". During his time in Utah, there were 245 coaching changes around the league, and five teams - Charlotte, Memphis, Toronto, Orlando and Minnesota - did not even exist when he took the helm with the Jazz. He has left an enduring legacy with this franchise and our family. Sloan had been battling Parkinson's disease and Lewy body dementia, which are ultimately the causes for his passing.

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