Former Utah Jazz Coach Jerry Sloan, 'One of the Greatest,' Dies at 78
Jerry Sloan, a one-time player for the Chicago Bulls and former head coach of the Utah Jazz, has died. He was 78.
On Friday, the NBA team he coached for 23 years confirmed that Sloan died due to complications from Parkinson’s disease and Lewy body dementia. He served as head coach from 1988 to 2011.
"Jerry Sloan will always be synonymous with the Utah Jazz," the team said in a statement. "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 remembered Sloan for his "tremendous impact," evidenced by his 1,223 wins as their coach and two NBA Finals appearances.
"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," the team said. "... 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.”
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Sloan — a two-time NBA All-Star during his competitive days on the court — was the first player in Bulls’ history to have his number retired, according to the Jazz, as his No. 4 jersey was honored on Feb. 17, 1978.
The owners of the Jazz, the Miller family, also issued a statement on the legendary coach's death, saying that it was an "honor and a privilege" to have "one of the greatest and most respected coaches in NBA history coaching our team."
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"We have appreciated our relationship with Jerry and acknowledge his dedication to and passion for the Utah Jazz," read the statement. "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."
The Millers added: "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."