The Utah Jazz have announced that long-time head coach Jerry Sloan has passed away at age 78. Sloan coached the Jazz for 23 years, made the playoffs in 20 of those campaigns and led the team that made it to the Finals in 1997 and 1998.
“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 franchise said in a statement.
Sloan was inducted into the NBA Hall of Fame in 2009, two years before he coached his final game in 2011. During the 23 years he coached the franchise and the three that he spent as the head coach of the Chicago Bulls, he picked up 1,221 wins, good for third-highest in league history.
Sloan’s first game as the coach of the Jazz came part-way through the 1988-89 season. He coached franchise icons Karl Malone, John Stockton and Mark Eaton out of the gates.
Sloan’s final game on the sidelines came in 2010-2011, with a roster that included the likes of Deron Williams, Andrei Kirilenko and Paul Millsap.
Sloan also averaged 14.0 points per game over a 10-year playing career, nine of those seasons spent in Chicago.