Coaching Tree: Impact Of Legendary Utah Jazz Head Coach Jerry Sloan On Basketball
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Storied Utah Jazz head coach Jerry Sloan made an impact on basketball from his coaching roots as a player to helping others build their own coaching careers.
Sloan passed away at the age of 78 on Friday, May 22.
The storied former NBA player first coached in the league as an assistant for the Chicago Bulls. In 1979, the Bulls made Sloan their head coach.
After a few seasons at the helm of the Windy City franchise, Sloan was fired.
In 1985, he joined the Jazz organization under head coach Frank Layden. After Layden resigned in 1988, Sloan was named the 7th head coach in franchise history.
Over the next 20-plus seasons, Sloan led the Jazz to the postseason nearly every season. He coached Utah to its only NBA Finals appearances in 1997 and 1998.
Sloan’s coaching career spanned from 1978-2011.
However, prior to Sloan’s coaching gigs with the Bulls and Jazz, he played for some great coaches.
Jerry Sloan’s Coaching Roots
Before his time in the NBA, Sloan played basketball for the University of Evansville from 1962-65. The future NBA player and coach played for Evansville head coach Arad McCutchan.
McCutchan suggested that Sloan come back to coach at Evansville. In 1976, Sloan took the Evansville job. It was short lived as he withdrew his name five days later.
McCutchan posted an impressive career record of 514-314 at Evansville.
Under McCutchan’s coaching, Sloan became the fourth overall pick by the Baltimore Bullets in the 1965 NBA Draft.
Sloan played for Baltimore until he joined the Bulls in 1966.
In 1968, the Bulls hired former Weber State head coach Dick Motta. Sloan played for Motta from 1968-76. The 1975-76 season was the last season with Chicago for both Motta and Sloan.
Motta won the NBA’s Coach of the Year award with Sloan on the Bulls’ roster in 1971.
In his first NBA coaching job, Sloan coached for the Bulls under Larry Costello. The Bulls posted a 31-51 record and Costello was let go in the middle of the season. Sloan took over as the team’s head coach the following season.
Scotty Robertson was the first head coach of the New Orleans Jazz franchise. However, Sloan never coached under Robertson with the Jazz.
After the Bulls let Costello go after 56 games, Robertson took over as Chicago’s interim head coach. Sloan continued to serve as a Bulls assistant coach until taking over as the head coach for the 1979-80 season.
In 1982, Sloan was fired by the Bulls.
He joined the Jazz under head coach Frank Layden in 1985.
Layden resigned during the 1988-89 season, the Jazz named Sloan as the team’s head coach, and the rest is history.
Jerry Sloan’s Coaching Tree
Former Utah State and Weber State player and coach Phil Johnson coached under Sloan until the two of them resigned together in 2011.
Johnson first coached with the Jazz as an assistant from 1982-84. He returned to Utah in 1988 after spending time as head coach of the Kings franchise.
Under Sloan, Johnson helped the Jazz become a consistent playoff team and eventually a contender in the late 1990s.
Frank Layden’s son, Scott, served as a talent scout and assistant coach beginning in the 1980s. After Frank’s resignation in 1988, Scott continued to serve as an assistant under Sloan until 1990 when entered Utah’s front office.
Layden stayed in Utah’s front office until 1999 when he joined the New York Knicks organization. He was with the Knicks until 2003.
He returned to Utah in 2005 and served as an assistant coach with the Jazz until 2012 when he was hired by the San Antoino Spurs as an assistant general manager.
In 2016, Layden left San Antonio to become the general manager of the Minnesota Timberwolves. He is currently serving in that capacity.
Under Sloan, Gordon Chiesa served as an assistant coach for the Jazz from 1989-2005.
He has also spent time as an assistant coach with the New Jersey Nets, Seattle SuperSonics, and Memphis Grizzlies.
Chiesa also served as the Grizzlies’ director of pro scouting.
Before serving as an assistant coach for the Jazz, Kenny Natt played for Utah as a player in 1983 and 1984.
After his playing career, Natt’s first NBA coaching job came as an assistant on Sloan’s coaching staff.
Natt coached with Sloan from 1996-2004.
He last spent time in the NBA as the interim head coach for the Sacramento Kings during the 2008-09 season.
Before his time in the Jazz front office, David Fredman was an assistant coach for the Jazz from 1987-1999.
After serving on Frank Layden and Jerry Sloan’s coaching staffs, Fredman served as the assistant general manager of the Denver Nuggets.
In 2008, Fredman returned to the Jazz as the organization head scout. He’s served as Utah’s director of pro player personnel since the 2013-14 season.
During his NBA playing career, Tyrone Corbin played for Coach Sloan as a member of the Jazz from 1991-1994.
After retiring from playing, Corbin’s first coaching job was on Sloan’s staff. Corbin was an assistant coach for Coach Sloan from 2004-11.
After Sloan resigned midway through the 2010-11 season, the Jazz named Corbin as the team’s next head coach.
The Jazz did not renew Corbin’s contract after the 2013-14 season. Corbin posted a record of 112-146 during his time leading the Jazz.
After leaving the Jazz, Corbin spent time with the Kings and Suns, including a short stint as Sacramento’s interim head coach.
He is currently an assistant coach for the Orlando Magic.
Mark McKown spent more than 20 years with the Jazz organization. During his time with Utah, McKown served as the team’s director of sports science as well as an assistant coach under Sloan.
He left the Jazz organization prior to the 2018-19 season.
McKown currently works as an independent consultant, author, and speaker.
While he was never a part of Sloan’s coaching staff, Brad Jones was the Jazz legend’s nephew and served as a scout for the organization. Jones later became the coach for the then D-League team, Utah Flash. In 2012, he was added to Tyrone Corbin’s staff. Following his time the Jazz, Jones continued to coach in the G-League. He is currently an assistant with the Memphis Grizzlies.
Former Jazz forward Marc Iavaroni played for Utah and under Coach Sloan from 1986-89.
After retiring from playing, Iavaroni spent a decade an NBA assistant coach. He became a head coach in the league when the Memphis Grizzlies hired him in 2007.
After a slow start to the 2008-09 season, Iavaroni was let go by the Grizzlies.
He last coached on the Los Angeles Clippers’ staff in 2013.
Before becoming the Utah men’s basketball coach, Larry Krystkowiak played professionally from 1986-1998. From 1992-93, Krystkowiak played for Sloan and the Jazz.
After his playing career, the former Jazzman coached both college and professional basketball. He served as the head coach of the Milwaukee Bucks during the 2007-08 season.
In 2011, he was hired by the University of Utah as the school’s men’s basketball head coach. In 2018, he was named the Pac-12 Coach of the Year.
He is still the Utes’ head coach.
Former Jazz shooting guard Jeff Hornacek played the second half of his NBA career in Utah. Hornacek was traded from the Philadelphia 76ers to the Jazz in 1994.
During his time in Utah, Hornacek helped Sloan and the Jazz reach back-to-back NBA Finals in 1997 and 1998.
He retired from playing in 2000.
In 2011, Hornacek returned to the Jazz for his first coaching job as a member of Tyrone Corbin’s staff. He coached with Utah until 2013 when the Phoenix Suns hired him as the franchise’s head coach.
In 2016, Hornacek was let go by the Suns. He was out of work for long as the New York Knicks hired him that same year. He coached the Knicks until he was fired by the organization in 2018.
The Jazz drafted Kansas guard Jacque Vaughn with the No. 27 pick in the 1997 NBA Draft.
Vaughn played for Sloan and the Jazz until 2001. He continued to play in the NBA until 2009.
In 2010, Vaughn was hired as an assistant coach by the San Antonio Spurs. He coached with the Spurs until 2012 when he was hired as the head coach of the Orlando Magic.
Vaughn coached the Magic until 2015.
From 2016-20, Vaughn served as an assistant coach for the Brooklyn Nets. In March 2020, Vaughn was named at the Nets’ interim head coach.
Former NBA guard Mark Jackson played his second to last season under Coach Sloan with the Jazz in 2002-03. He retired in 2004 after one season with the Houston Rockets.
In 2011, the Golden State Warriors hired Jackson as the team’s head coach.
He was let go by the Warriors following the 2013-14 season. He currently serves an NBA broadcaster.
Tyrone Corbin (see above)
After playing the first decade of his NBA career with the Los Angeles Lakers and Golden State Warriors, Derek Fisher played for the Jazz and Coach Sloan during the 2006-07 season.
After retiring from playing in 2014, Fisher was named as head coach of the New York Knicks.
Midway through the 2015-16 season, the Knicks fired Fisher.
In 2019, the former Jazz guard was hired as head coach of the WNBA franchise, Los Angeles Sparks. He led the Sparks to the Conference Finals in his first season as head coach.
Near the end of his NBA career, Earl Watson played a portion of a season under Sloan. He first joined the Jazz in 2010. Watson continued to play for the Jazz under Tyrone Corbin until 2013.
After retiring from playing in 2014, Watson became an assistant coach in the NBA D-League.
In 2015, he received his first NBA coaching gig as an assistant coach with the Suns on Jeff Hornacek’s staff. After Hornacek was let go, Watson was named Phoenix’s head coach in April 2016.
He was fired after the Suns started 0-3 to begin the 2017-18 season.