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Former Utah Jazz coach Jerry Sloan dies at 78

Posted at 8:39 AM, May 22, 2020

SALT LAKE CITY — Legendary Utah Jazz head coach Jerry Sloan has died at the age of 78, the NBA announced Friday.

Sloan died Friday morning from complications of Parkinson's disease and Lewy body dementia, the NBA's statement said.

Sloan was the head coach of the Jazz for 23 seasons, from 1988 to 2011, and he finished his carer with the third most wins in NBA history. According to the NBA, he worked with the Jazz organization for 34 years as either head coach, assistant, scout or senior basketball advisor.

"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," the NBA's statement said.

Karl Malone, John Stockton and other 1990s NBA players took part in a Zoom conference call on Sunday. During the call, Malone asked for prayers for Sloan.

"Also I need to say this to everyone here, me and Stockton been talking a lot here recently, our coach Sloan is not doing well, so I want you guys to pray for coach Sloan," Malone said.

Statement from the Utah Jazz:
“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.”

Statement from the Miller Family:
“It was an honor and a privilege to have one of the greatest and most respected coaches in NBA history coaching our team. 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.”]

Statement from Governor Gary Herbert
“Jerry Sloan was a fierce competitor and disciplinarian - and he was the heart and soul of the Utah Jazz for years. His emphasis on defense and team play got the most raw talent out of the players. He was “old school” and will be greatly missed. Our prayers are with Jerry Sloan’s family and friends as they mourn his passing.”

Statement from Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox
"I didn’t expect to cry today. Jerry wouldn’t like that. I’m heartbroken. Much will be written and said about him, but this is all you need to know. They say you should never meet your heros...but over the past few years I did. And he was everything I hoped he would be."

Statement from former U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch
“Jerry Sloan will always have a special place in NBA history—and in the hearts of all Utahns. He was a dynamic leader who transformed the Utah Jazz from a small franchise team to a perennial powerhouse. His contributions to our state and to the game of basketball will long live on. May God bless Jerry Sloan and all members of the Jazz family.”

Statement from Utah House Speaker Brad WIlson
"I'm sad to learn of the passing of former Jazz coach Jerry Sloan. He was the consummate professional & an all-time NBA great. His contributions to the Jazz organization & to our state will be felt for years to come. I wish the very best to his family during this difficult time."

Statement from Sen. J. Stuart Adams (R-Layton)
“Today Utah lost basketball legend Jerry Sloan, who was one of the most respected and most distinguished coaches in NBA history. Like most Utahns, basketball players and fans, I mourn the loss of our “coach.” My prayers and heartfelt condolences go out to his personal family as well as his basketball family.” - Sen. J. Stuart Adams, R-Layton, Senate President