Jazz to honor legendary coach Jerry Sloan in January

Posted at 10:04 PM, Dec 09, 2013
and last updated 2013-12-10 00:04:35-05

SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Jazz announced that the team will honor former head coach Jerry Sloan in a special halftime ceremony on Jan. 31, 2014.

The Jazz will be hosting the Golden State Warriors the night of the ceremony. The game will be nationally televised on ESPN.

“On behalf of the Jazz organization and Miller Family, I am thrilled to announce our plans to retire a jersey and celebrate the enduring legacy of Jerry Sloan, one of the greatest and most respected coaches in NBA history,” said Steve Miller, President of Miller Sports Properties. “We welcome Jazz fans to join us as we honor Jerry for his accomplishments and recognize his countless contributions to the Jazz franchise and state of Utah.”

A Jazz press release states:

A 2009 inductee into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, Sloan spent 23 seasons as the head coach of the Jazz (1988-2011), finishing his career with the third most wins in NBA history (1,221-803), sixth best winning percentage (.603) all-time (min. 500 wins), two NBA Finals appearances (1997 and 1998) and seven division titles. He also guided the Jazz to 16 consecutive winning seasons and thirteen 50-win seasons. Sloan’s teams made 20 trips to the NBA Playoffs (19 with Utah: 1989-2003, ’07-10) and his 98 playoff wins are the sixth most in NBA history. His span at the helm of the Jazz remains the longest tenure of any coach in NBA history.

Sloan ranks first on the NBA’s all-time list for consecutive games coached with one franchise (1,809), and also owns the record for most wins with one team (1,127). Sloan is one of just four coaches in league history to win at least 50 games in 10 different seasons (Pat Riley, Phil Jackson, Gregg Popovich). Sloan’s 16 consecutive winning seasons (1988-2004) are third-most all-time (Riley-19, Popovich-17) and he joins Popovich (16) and Red Auerbach (11) as the only coaches in NBA history to have 10 straight winning seasons with one team. Sloan is the only coach to ever win 1,000 games with one franchise and was the fifth coach in NBA history to record 1,000 career wins.

After leading the Jazz to a 42-40 record in 2003-04 in the first season following the departures of John Stockton and Karl Malone, Sloan was selected by The Sporting News as the NBA Coach of the Year as voted on by his NBA peers, and was runner-up for the Red Auerbach NBA Coach of the Year as voted by a panel of national media that covers the NBA. He also finished second in NBA Coach of the Year balloting in 2006-07. He was named NBA Western Conference Coach of the Month 10 times during his career.

Now a senior basketball adviser with the Jazz, Sloan is currently in his 30th season with the Jazz franchise after having previously served the organization as either head coach, assistant or scout every year over a 28-season span stretching from 1984-2011. Sloan worked for the Jazz as a scout (1983-84), became an assistant coach to Frank Layden on November 19, 1984, and was named the sixth head coach in franchise history on December 9, 1988, when Layden resigned. Twenty-three seasons and 1,809 games later, Sloan finished his career as the Jazz’s winningest coach based on both wins and winning percentage (1,127-682, .623). The longest tenured coach with one franchise in all of major professional sports at the time of his retirement, there were 244 NBA head coaching changes during his Jazz coaching career. In fact, five current NBA teams (Bobcats, Grizzlies, Raptors, Magic, Timberwolves) did not exist when he took the helm in Utah, which occurred just over a month into the in 1988-89 inaugural season for both the Heat and Hornets/Pelicans franchises. Sloan coached 133 different players during his tenure as head coach of the Jazz.

Sloan’s banner will hang alongside five of his former players whose numbers are retired: Mark Eaton (53), Darrell Griffith (35), Jeff Hornacek (14), Karl Malone (32) and John Stockton (12); his former head coach and general manager Frank Layden (1); longtime Jazz owner Larry H. Miller (9), legendary broadcaster “Hot” Rod Hundley (3051) and former Jazz players Adrian Dantley (4) and Pete Maravich (7). Miller’s banner is the most recent, having been raised as part of a posthumous ceremony on April 14, 2010, at which time the basketball court at EnergySolutions Arena was also dedicated as Larry H. Miller Court in his honor.

A veteran of the NBA as a player and coach for more than 45 years, prior to joining the Jazz, Sloan coached the Chicago Bulls for three seasons (1979-82), and was a two-time NBA All-Star as a player (1967, 1969) over 11 NBA seasons with Chicago and Baltimore (1965-76). Sloan became the first player in Bulls’ history to have his number retired when the franchise retired his No. 4 jersey on February 17, 1978.