SportsBeat: Jerry Sloan Special
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – In honor of the life and legacy of former Utah Jazz head coach Jerry Sloan, SportsBeat anchors Jeremiah Jensen and Sam Farnsworth showed basketball fans a peek behind the curtains into the who Coach Sloan was as a person and the career that he had.
After suffering from Parkinson’s disease and Lewy body dementia since April 2016, the Jazz legend passed away at the age of 78 on Friday, May 22.
“Tonight we mourn the loss of a legend. Jerry Sloan has passed away at the age of 78,” Jensen said as he opened the special broadcast. “It’s a sad day of course for Utah Jazz fans but the passing of Jerry Sloan has provided us an opportunity to celebrate his remarkable hall of fame career and the numbers tell us just how remarkable of a coach he was.”
“We’ll take a look back on some of the most memorable moments of Jerry’s coaching career and we have reactions and memories from his former players and even an old rival,” said Farnsworth.
Sloan took over as head coach of the Jazz on December 9, 1988 “and the rest is history. He would coach the Jazz for the next 23 years.”
Jerry Sloan’s Career Accomplishments
- 2009 Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame Inductee
- 1223 wins (fourth-most in NBA history)
- Sixth best winning percentage all-time (.603)
- Two NBA Finals appearances (1997, 1998)
- Seven division titles
- 20 postseason appearances (19 with the Jazz)
- 98 playoff victories (sixth all-time)
- 13 seasons of 50+ wins
- 1809 consecutive games with the Jazz
- First NBA coach to win 1,000 games with one franchise
- Coached 133 players with the Jazz
- 245 head coaching changes in the NBA while he remained Utah’s head coach for 23 years
Former Players Talk About Coach Sloan
Former Jazz big men Thurl Bailey and Mark Eaton joined Jensen and Farnsworth to discuss the legacy of their former head coach.
Bailey spoke about how tough Sloan was and said the coach was hired by the Jazz “to bring that toughness” to the franchise.
Frank Layden knew something. He knew what Jerry had and Jerry brought it to the team,” Bailey said. “You talk about identities of teams, that came from Jerry Sloan.”
The great thing about him was that he was consistent,” said Eaton. “He was the same guy every day and I think from a player’s standpoint, I always appreciated that because you knew it was expected. There wasn’t a lot of smoke and mirrors but he was real. This is was what he expected and you could see the results on the court by listening to what he had to say by going out and watching it occur the next night in the arena.”
Former NBA Head Coach George Karl On Jerry Sloan
Another member of the 1,000 coaching victories club is former NBA head coach George Karl.
Karl coached against Sloan and the Jazz for much of the two coaches’ careers.
The two legendary coaches battled for division titles and playoff series multiple times during Karl’s time with the Seattle SuperSonics and Denver Nuggets.
“His teams played hard. They played together and they were a very smart basketball team,” Karl said. “Smart is so much no talked about by NBA fans and media but having an intelligent basketball team is just a forte of a Jerry Sloan basketball team.”
“Respect,” Jensen said was the word he’ll remember Sloan by. “He’s a fierce competitor,” added Farnsworth.
For more on the life and legacy of former Utah Jazz head coach Jerry Sloan visit kslsports.com/jerrysloan.
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