Jerry Sloan, the Hall of Fame NBA head coach who was at the helm when the Utah Jazz took on the Michael Jordan-led Chicago Bulls, died after a battle with Parkinson’s disease and dementia, the Jazz announced Friday.
Sloan coached the Jazz from 1988 to 2011 and was the Bulls’ head coach from 1979 to 1982.
“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,” the team said in a statement.
“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.”
Before he joined the Bulls’ coaching staff, he played for the team from 1966 to 1976. He was a two-time All-Star and he made the All-Defensive team six times. He also had one season with the Baltimore Bullets in 1965-66.
Sloan averaged 14 points, 7.4 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game for his career.
As a head coach, Sloan was 1,221-803. He only made the NBA Finals twice – both with the Jazz with John Stockton and Karl Malone running plays on the court. However, those Jazz teams were blocked from winning the titles thanks to Jordan’s Bulls.
Sloan was the fifth coach in NBA history to reach 1,000 wins and is one of two coaches to record 1,000 or more wins with one franchise. Despite leading the Jazz to 15 straight playoff appearances, he never won the Coach of the Year.
Sloan was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2009.
“It was an honor and a privilege to have one of the greatest and most respected coaches in NBA history coaching our team,” the Miller Family, which owns the team, said in a statement. “We have appreciated our relationship with Jerry and acknowledge his dedication to and passion for the Utah Jazz. He has left an enduring legacy with this franchise and our family.
“The far-reaching impact of his life has touched our city, state and the world as well as countless players, staff and fans. We pray his family will find solace and comfort in Jerry’s life. The Miller family and Jazz organization will be proud to honor him with a permanent tribute.”