Former Utah Jazz coach Jerry Sloan dies at age 78

Tanya Simon
May 23, 2020

The team put out a statement 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", the team said in a statement.

Current Jazz head coach Quin Snyder, now in his sixth season with Utah, spoke fondly about his time with Sloan and what it means to follow in his footsteps.

'His 1,223 Jazz coaching wins, 20 trips to the NBA Playoffs and two NBA Finals appearances are remarkable achievements.

He led the Jazz through the most successful and consistent period in franchise history, aided by legendary players like John Stockton and Karl Malone. He led the Jazz to two NBA Finals appearances (1997, 1998), where they lost to the Michael Jordan-led Chicago Bulls each time.

"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".

He began his head coaching career with the Chicago Bulls (1979-82).

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Riley and Sloan first faced each other as players, with Sloan playing all but one of his 11 National Basketball Association seasons with the Chicago Bulls.

"He was a mentor for me from afar until I got to know him", said Popovich, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

"Jerry was the face of the Bulls organization from its inception through the mid-1970s, and very appropriately, his uniform No. 4 was the first jersey retired by the team", Bulls chairman Jerry Reinsdorf said Friday.

He was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame back in 2009. "Our sympathies go out to the Sloan family and all his many fans". He is second on the NBA's all-time list for consecutive games coached with one franchise (1,809). Only Lenny Wilkens, Don Nelson and Gregg Popovich have more victories.

Sloan and Pop faced off in the playoffs only one other time, with the Spurs beating the Jazz in five games in the 2007 Western Conference Finals. "Just kind of stubbornness and nerves and all that played a part in why I never reached out". "He brought a lot to the game and I learned a lot from him as a coach and as a human being so it was sad news for me to hear today". "We have appreciated our relationship with Jerry and acknowledge his dedication to and passion for the Utah Jazz". The Jazz claimed seven division titles under his leadership.

'The far-reaching impact of his life has touched our city, state and the world as well as countless players, staff and fans.

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