Former longtime Utah Jazz head coach Jerry Sloan died on Friday. He was 78.
Sloan had been battling Parkinson’s disease and Lewy body dementia, and he died from complications of the conditions. Before his coaching career, Sloan played 11 seasons in the NBA with the Bullets and Bulls, and he would retire from the NBA in 1976.
After retiring from the NBA, Sloan would coach the Bulls from 1979-1982, and in 1988, Sloan would coach the Utah Jazz, where he had a lot of success, including two NBA Finals appearances. Both times in the Finals, the Jazz would lose to Jordan and the Bulls.
He would be inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2009. Sloan resigned from the Jazz and ended his coaching career in 2011. After 26 years of coaching(23 with the Jazz), he finished with 1221 wins.
A man who looked up to Sloan was Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich, and on Friday, Popovich issued the following statement regarding the passing of Jerry Sloan:
“It’s a sad day for all of us who knew Jerry Sloan. Not only on the basketball court but, more importantly, as a human being. He was genuine and true. And that is rare.
“He was a mentor for me from afar until I got to know him. A man who suffered no fools, he possessed a humor, often disguised, and had a heart as big as the prairie.”