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Former Utah Jazz coach and basketball hall of famer Jerry Sloan dies

Richie McCormack
Richie McCormack

16:19 22 May 2020

Former Utah Jazz coach Jerry Sloan has passed away at the age of 78. 

He led the Jazz to successive appearances in the NBA finals in 1997 and 98, losing on both occasions to his former side, the Chicago Bulls. 

The Jazz confirmed he died on Friday morning "due to complications from Parkinson’s disease and Lewy body dementia".

As a player, Sloan earned Basketball Hall of Fame status.

He was a member of the very first Chicago Bulls roster in the 1966-67 season, having been traded by the Baltimore Bullets.

Sloan led the Bulls to the playoffs in their first season, and won the first of two All Star recognitions in 1967.

He spent ten seasons as a player with the Bulls and was named an All Star again in 1969.

Sloan also became the first player in Chicago Bulls history to have their number retired, when the franchise granted him the honour in 1978.

He began his coaching career in Chicago, leading the Bulls for three years before leaving in 1982.

Three years later, he began a 34-year love affair with the Utah Jazz.

His time in Salt Lake City saw him occupy the positions of head coach, assistant, scout or senior basketball adviser at one time or another.

23 of those 34 years were spent as head coach.

He led the Jazz through the most successful and consistent period in franchise history, aided by legendary players like John Stockton and Karl Malone.

During his tenure, the Jazz progressed to the playoffs on no fewer than 20 occasions.

They were six-time divisional champions, and NBA Championship finalists in 1997 and 1998.

Sloan ranks second on the NBA’s all-time list for consecutive games coached with one franchise (1,809), and also owns the second most wins with one team.

When he stepped down as head coach in 2011, he had amassed the third most wins (1,221-803) as a coach in NBA history.

He was inducted into the 2009 class of the Basketball Hall of Fame.

In a statement, the Utah Jazz said of 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.

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Basketball Chicago Bulls Jerry Sloan NBA Utah Jazz

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