Eye of the Hurricane

February 10, 2011

A look at the career of Jerry Sloan

Filed under: NBA — davidfurones @ 4:50 pm
Tags: , , , , , , ,


As previously reported, the NBA lost a legend today. Jerry Sloan will announce his resignation from his coaching duties with the Utah Jazz. Sloan spent the past 23 seasons coaching the Utah Jazz and is probably the most underrated coach of all-time and arguably the greatest coach to never put a championship ring on his finger.

Sloan, 68, has been around the NBA since the age of 23. Before coaching, he served 11 years as a guard/forward. Sloan was taken 4th overall in the 1965 Draft by the Baltimore Bullets, but the man from McLeansboro, IL ended up playing the next ten years for his hometown Chicago Bulls. He averaged 14 points and 7.4 rebounds per game as a player.

The Bulls then gave Sloan his first head coaching gig. He coached Chicago for three years before moving west to Salt Lake City and beginning a 23-year tenure that came to an end today. In his 23 years with the Jazz, Sloan has only posted a record under .500 once and has made the playoffs in all but three seasons.

Sloan will forever be as synonymous with the Utah  Jazz franchise as the Hall of Fame players and perennial all-stars he coached, John Stockton and Karl Malone. With Stockton and  Malone at point guard and power forward respectively, Sloan mastered the art of teaching the pick and roll. Stockton became the NBA’s all-time leader in assists under the tutelage of Jerry Sloan. He has continued running the best pick and roll in the NBA with Deron Williams now running the show in Salt Lake.

The Jazz rolled off 15 consecutive seasons of reaching the playoffs from 1989 to 2003. He reached the pinnacle of the coaching profession in the 1997 and 1998 postseasons. These two years Sloan and the Jazz reached the NBA Finals, but both times fell victim to the franchise that gave him his first coaching opportunity and 10 of his 11 years as a player as Jordan, Pippen, Phil Jackson and the Bulls won their fifth and sixth championships of the 90s.

Jerry Sloan was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2009 as a coach.


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