Jerry Sloan


Gerald Eugene Sloan (March 28, 1942 – May 22, 2020) was an American professional basketball player and coach. He played 11 seasons in the National Basketball Association (NBA) before beginning a 30-year coaching career, 23 of which were spent as head coach of the Utah Jazz (1988–2011). NBA commissioner David Stern referred to Sloan as "one of the greatest and most respected coaches in NBA history".[1] Sloan was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2009.[2]

Jerry Sloan
Sloan with the Chicago Bulls in 1969
Personal information
Born(1942-03-28)March 28, 1942
McLeansboro, Illinois
DiedMay 22, 2020(2020-05-22) (aged 78)
Salt Lake City, Utah
NationalityAmerican
Listed height6 ft 5 in (1.96 m)
Listed weight195 lb (88 kg)
Career information
High schoolMcLeansboro
(McLeansboro, Illinois)
CollegeEvansville (1962–1965)
NBA draft1965 / Round: 1 / Pick: 4th overall
Selected by the Baltimore Bullets
Playing career1965–1976
PositionShooting guard / Small forward
Number14, 4
Coaching career1978–2011
Career history
As player:
1965–1966Baltimore Bullets
19661976Chicago Bulls
As coach:
1978–1979Chicago Bulls (assistant)
19791982Chicago Bulls
19851988Utah Jazz (assistant)
19882011Utah Jazz
Career highlights and awards
Career playing statistics
Points10,571 (14.0 ppg)
Rebounds5,615 (7.4 rpg)
Assists1,925 (2.5 apg)
Stats at Basketball-Reference.com
Career coaching record
NBA1,221–803 (.603)
Basketball Hall of Fame as coach

After playing college basketball with the Evansville Purple Aces, Sloan was selected by the Baltimore Bullets with the fourth overall pick of the 1965 NBA draft. He spent his rookie season with the Bullets before playing the remainder of his career with the Chicago Bulls, retiring due to injuries in 1976. Nicknamed "the Original Bull", he was a two-time NBA All-Star and the first player to have his number retired by the Bulls. Sloan then became a coach, and had a career regular-season win–loss record of 1,221–803, placing him third all time in NBA wins at the time he retired.[3] He was the fifth coach to reach 1,000 NBA victories and is one of two coaches in NBA history to record 1,000 wins with one club (the Utah Jazz). Sloan coached the Jazz to 15 consecutive playoff appearances from 1989 to 2003. He is one of only four coaches in NBA history with 15-plus consecutive seasons that have a winning record.[lower-alpha 1][3] He led Utah to the NBA Finals in 1997 and 1998, but lost to Chicago both times.

After Tom Kelly stepped down as manager of the Minnesota Twins in Major League Baseball in 2001, Sloan became the longest-tenured head coach in American major league sports with their current franchise. He resigned mid-season from the Jazz in 2011 before returning in 2013 as an adviser and scouting consultant.

Early life


Born and raised in Gobbler's Knob, Illinois, 15 miles (24 km) south of McLeansboro, Illinois,[4] Sloan was the youngest of 10 children and was raised by a single mother after his father died when Jerry was 4 years old. He would wake up at 4:30 a.m. to do farm chores and then walk almost two miles to get to school in time for 7 a.m. basketball practice. Sloan graduated an all-state player from McLeansboro High School in 1960.[5]

Playing career


Sloan playing for Evansville in 1965.

Sloan attended the University of Evansville and played college basketball for the Purple Aces. He was selected 19th overall in the 1964 NBA draft by the Baltimore Bullets. But, he remained in college and led the Purple Aces to their second in two consecutive Division II national titles and his second with the squad. He then was selected fourth in the 1965 NBA draft by the Bullets. The Chicago Bulls, an expansion team, selected Sloan in the 1966 NBA expansion draft. He became known as "the Original Bull", known for his tenacious defense, leading them to the playoffs in their first season, and to their first and only division title before the Michael Jordan era; after a series of knee injuries, he retired in 1976. He averaged more than 18 points a game in 1970–71, and over 15 points per game three other seasons.[6] Despite his height of only 6 ft 5 in (1.96 m), his career rebounding average was 7.4 rebounds per game, with one season having an average of 9.1 rebounds. He was a career 72 percent free throw shooter.[7] His number 4 jersey was subsequently retired by the Chicago Bulls in 1978, becoming the first retired jersey in franchise history.[8]

Coaching career


While at Evansville, coach Arad McCutchan suggested that Sloan coach at his alma mater. After retiring in 1976, Sloan took the Evansville job, but withdrew after five days.[9] That same season, the Evansville basketball team and coaching staff were killed in a plane crash at Evansville Airport.[10] Two years later, Sloan was hired by the Bulls as a scout.[11] After one season in this role, he became an assistant coach with the team. In 1979, Sloan was promoted to the position of head coach. He held the position for less than three seasons, winning 94 games and losing 121. He led the team to the playoffs in his second year, but was fired after a poor start during the following campaign.[12] After departing Chicago, Sloan became a scout for the Utah Jazz for one season. He then became coach of the Evansville Thunder of the Continental Basketball Association for the 1984 season but never coached a game instead accepting an assistant coach position with the Jazz. After Frank Layden became team president in December 1988, the Jazz chose Sloan as the new head coach.[13] Sloan enjoyed a successful run of 16 consecutive seasons of taking his team to the playoffs, during which time he coached future Hall of Famers Karl Malone and John Stockton, along with other players including Jeff Hornacek, Antoine Carr, Tom Chambers, Mark Eaton, and Jeff Malone.[14] Sloan led the Jazz to six division championships and 10 seasons with greater than 50 wins. He also took the Jazz to the NBA Finals twice, losing in 1997 and 1998, both times to his old team, the Michael Jordan-led Bulls. By the end of this period, he had joined Pat Riley and Phil Jackson as the only coaches with 10 or more seasons winning 50 or more games. After the retirement of long-time Jazz players Malone and Stockton, Sloan coached a younger group of players, including Carlos Boozer, Andrei Kirilenko, Mehmet Okur, and later, Deron Williams.[15] After John Stockton retired and Karl Malone signed with the Lakers in the summer of 2003, the 2003-2004 Jazz were widely predicted to be the worst team in the NBA[16] and some even predicted that Utah would set the all-time single season record for fewest wins in a season.[17] Despite the very low expectations and despite second leading scorer Matt Harpring being sidelined for 51 games due to a knee injury, Sloan and his team were involved in a battle for the eighth spot in the Western Conference, which would have given Sloan his 17th straight trip to the playoffs. The Jazz were tied with the Denver Nuggets for the eighth and last spot of the playoffs with three games to go in the regular season. The Jazz lost the final two games, causing Sloan to miss the playoffs for the first time in 18 seasons as Jazz coach. After leading a young team in its first year without Stockton and Malone to an unexpected 42–40 record, he finished just behind Hubie Brown of the Memphis Grizzlies in voting for the 2004 NBA Coach of the Year Award.[18]

Sloan collected his 1,000th career win against the Dallas Mavericks on December 11, 2006, in a 101–79 victory, which made him only the fifth coach in NBA history to reach the milestone.[19] After disappointing seasons in 2004–05 and 2005–06, the Jazz in the 2006–07 returned to contention. For this, Sloan was again on many sportswriters ballots for Coach of the Year, however he lost the award to Toronto Raptors head coach Sam Mitchell, who led his team to a franchise record-tying 47 victories and their first Atlantic Division title. Sloan lost the vote 394–301.[20]

Sloan as a coach of the Utah Jazz in 2010

The Jazz advanced to the Western Conference finals on May 15, 2007, with a 100–87 win over the Golden State Warriors. It was the sixth time in franchise history that Utah advanced to the conference finals, all coming under Sloan. However, they went on to lose 4–1 to the San Antonio Spurs.[14]

During the 2008–09 season, Sloan reached 1,000 wins as coach of the Jazz on November 7 after beating the Oklahoma City Thunder 104–97 in a Friday night game. He became the first coach in NBA history with 1,000 wins for one team.[21] Sloan returned as head coach of the Jazz for the 2009–10 season, leading the team to a 53–29 record and the playoffs.

Mirroring his tenacity as a player, Sloan was just as fiery as a coach. He was suspended one game for pushing referee Bob Delaney in April 1993. A decade later, Sloan was served a seven-game suspension in 2003 for pushing referee Courtney Kirkland in Sacramento.[22]

In April 2009, Sloan was named to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, in the same class as his former longtime point guard John Stockton. Sloan chose class of 2006 Hall of Famer Charles Barkley to introduce him during his induction ceremony.[23]

Resignation as Jazz head coach


Sloan revealed on February 7, 2011, that he had earlier in the year signed a contract extension to coach the Jazz for the 2011–12 season, which would have been his 24th season as head coach with the Jazz.[24] However, on February 10, 2011, Sloan and assistant Phil Johnson resigned their positions effective immediately.[25] Sloan downplayed reports that conflicts with players prompted his departure. "I've had confrontations with players since I've been in the league", Sloan said. "There's only so much energy left and my energy has dropped." KSL-TV later asked Sloan whether reported conflicts with guard Deron Williams forced him to leave. "I forced myself out", Sloan responded.[26] Williams acknowledged that he had a disagreement with Sloan during the previous night's game, but he added, "I would never force Coach Sloan out of Utah. He's meant more to this town, more to this organization than I have by far. I would have asked out of Utah first."[27] Sloan's last game as head coach came in a 91–86 loss to the Bulls on February 9, and assistant coach Tyrone Corbin was then named as Sloan's replacement.[3]

He was stubborn, you have to be as a coach. But, he had a system, and the system was effective. It's not easy to have a team in Utah. It's not the biggest draw in the country as far as free agents to go there, and they were able to have a really great home record, played the kind of basketball that was admirable. So, we all had admiration for him as coaches around the league. So, as a colleague, we’ll miss him.

Phil Jackson, former Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers head coach[1]

Nearly two weeks later, Williams was involved in a trade on February 23, 2011, that sent him to the New Jersey Nets.[28] Ian Thomsen of Sports Illustrated wrote, "First Jerry Sloan leaves, now Williams is sent away. For two decades we knew who the Utah Jazz were and what they stood for as a franchise. Now we, and they, can have no idea."[29]

A year later, Karl Malone, who played under Sloan for over 18 years, indicated that Sloan did not feel supported by Kevin O'Connor and Greg Miller.[30] Longtime San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich would later mention him as a mentor for his overall coaching success in the NBA.[31]

Return to the Jazz


On June 19, 2013, the Utah Jazz announced that Sloan was returning as an adviser and scouting consultant.[32]

On January 31, 2014, the Jazz honored Sloan by raising a banner featuring the number "1223", which represents Sloan's wins with the Jazz from 1988 to 2011.[33]

Personal life and death


Sloan married his high-school sweetheart, Bobbye. After a well-publicized six-year battle against breast cancer, she died of pancreatic cancer in 2004.[34] They had three children and were married 41 years. One of his sons, Brian, was an all-state center for McLeansboro High School and was a member of its undefeated 1984 Class A IHSA basketball championship team. After leading the Foxes to the championship, Brian Sloan was named Illinois Mr. Basketball and was a McDonald's All-American for 1984 in Illinois. Brian Sloan also played five seasons under Coach Bob Knight at Indiana University, collecting an NCAA Division I basketball title in 1987, where he pledged Beta Epsilon. Brian's son, and Jerry's grandson, Grant is a member of the Indiana University baseball team.[35] In 2006, Jerry Sloan married Tammy Jessop, in Salt Lake City. Sloan had a stepson, Rhett, as a result of this marriage.[36] Sloan was known to wear John Deere hats,[4] collected antique furniture and dolls. [7] He also collected and restored tractors as a hobby.[37] After amassing a collection of tractors that numbered 70, Sloan decided to sell all but two of them after a 35-year-old Allis-Chalmers tractor was stolen.[38][39] After years of a self-confessed habit of drinking and smoking too much, he stopped both, although he said it never affected him or his coaching.[4]

In April 2016, Sloan was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease and Lewy body dementia.[40] He died on May 22, 2020, at age 78, from complications of the diseases.[41]

Career statistics


Legend
  GP Games played   GS  Games started  MPG  Minutes per game
 FG%  Field goal percentage  3P%  3-point field goal percentage  FT%  Free throw percentage
 RPG  Rebounds per game  APG  Assists per game  SPG  Steals per game
 BPG  Blocks per game  PPG  Points per game  Bold  Career high

Playing

NBA regular season playing statistics[42]
Year Team GP GS MPG FG% FT% RPG APG SPG BPG PPG
1965–66 Baltimore 5916.1.415.7053.91.95.7
1966–67 Chicago 8036.8.432.7969.12.117.4
1967–68 Chicago 7731.9.385.7497.73.013.3
1968–69 Chicago 7837.7.417.7457.93.516.8
1969–70 Chicago 5334.4.421.6517.03.115.6
1970–71 Chicago 8039.3.441.7158.83.518.3
1971–72 Chicago 8237.0.444.6608.42.616.2
1972–73 Chicago 6935.0.411.7076.92.210.1
1973–74 Chicago 7737.1.447.7117.21.92.4.113.2
1974–75 Chicago 7833.0.439.7486.92.12.2.212.2
1975–76 Chicago 2228.0.400.7055.31.01.2.210.1
Career 75534.1.427.7227.42.52.2.214.0
All-Star 2120.0.353.0003.52.06.0
NBA playoff playing statistics[42]
Year Team GP MPG FG% FT% RPG APG SPG BPG PPG
1966 Baltimore 217.0.417.7508.03.06.5
1967 Chicago 323.7.387.6673.3.310.0
1968 Chicago 527.4.324.7606.42.48.6
1970 Chicago 538.0.392.6407.82.214.8
1971 Chicago 740.6.436.7399.02.417.0
1972 Chicago 442.5.406.5798.82.515.8
1973 Chicago 741.7.437.7378.42.014.9
1974 Chicago 640.0.443.75910.32.01.2.216.7
1975 Chicago 1336.2.460.5567.42.01.5.013.1
Career 5236.3.427.6777.92.11.4.113.8

Coaching

Legend
Regular season G Games coached W Games won L Games lost W–L % Win–loss %
Playoffs PG Playoff games PW Playoff wins PL Playoff losses PW–L % Playoff win–loss %
NBA coaching record[43]
Team Year G W L W–L% Finish PG PW PL PW–L% Result
Chicago 1979–80 823052.3664th in Midwest Missed Playoffs
Chicago 1980–81 824537.5492nd in Central624.333 Lost in Conf. Semi-finals
Chicago 1981–82 511932.373(fired)
Utah 1988–89 654025.6151st in Midwest303.000 Lost in First round
Utah 1989–90 825527.6712nd in Midwest523.400 Lost in First round
Utah 1990–91 825428.6592nd in Midwest945.444 Lost in Conf. Semi-finals
Utah 1991–92 825527.6711st in Midwest1697.563 Lost in Conf. Finals
Utah 1992–93 824735.5733rd in Midwest523.400 Lost in First round
Utah 1993–94 825329.6463rd in Midwest1688.500 Lost in Conf. Finals
Utah 1994–95 826022.7322nd in Midwest523.400 Lost in First round
Utah 1995–96 825527.6712nd in Midwest18108.556 Lost in Conf. Finals
Utah 1996–97 826418.7801st in Midwest20137.650 Lost in NBA Finals
Utah 1997–98 826220.7561st in Midwest20137.650 Lost in NBA Finals
Utah 1998–99 503713.7402nd in Midwest1156.455 Lost in Conf. Semi-finals
Utah 1999–00 825527.6711st in Midwest1046.400 Lost in Conf. Semi-finals
Utah 2000–01 825329.6462nd in Midwest523.400 Lost in First round
Utah 2001–02 824438.5374th in Midwest413.250 Lost in First round
Utah 2002–03 824735.5734th in Midwest514.200 Lost in First round
Utah 2003–04 824240.5127th in Midwest Missed Playoffs
Utah 2004–05 822656.3175th in Northwest Missed Playoffs
Utah 2005–06 824141.5002nd in Northwest Missed Playoffs
Utah 2006–07 825131.6221st in Northwest1798.529 Lost in Conf. Finals
Utah 2007–08 825428.6591st in Northwest1266.500 Lost in Conf. Semi-finals
Utah 2008–09 824834.5853rd in Northwest514.200 Lost in First round
Utah 2009–10 825329.6462nd in Northwest1046.400 Lost in Conf. Semi-finals
Utah 2010–11 543123.574(resigned)
Career 2,0241,221803.60320298104.485

Quotes


  • "These guys have been criticized the last few years for not getting to where we're going, but I've always said that the most important thing in sports is to keep trying. Let this be an example of what it means to say it's never over."—after the Utah Jazz defeated the Houston Rockets in game 6 of the 1997 Western Conference finals.[44]
  • "I don't care if he's 19 or 30. If he's going to be on the floor in the NBA, he's got to be able to step up and get after it. We can't put diapers on him one night, and a jockstrap the next night. It's just the way it is."—on second year guard C. J. Miles, the youngest player on the 2006–07 Utah Jazz.[45]
  • "Size doesn't make any difference; heart is what makes a difference."[11]

Notes


  1. Gregg Popovich, Pat Riley and Phil Jackson are the others.

References


  1. Abrams, Jonathan (February 11, 2011). "N.B.A. Dean of Coaches Resigns Abruptly". The New York Times. p. B9. Archived from the original on February 12, 2011.
  2. Ross Siler (April 4, 2009). "Utah Local News – Salt Lake City News, Sports, Archive – The Salt Lake Tribune". The Salt Lake Tribune. Archived from the original on October 3, 2012. Retrieved July 26, 2012.
  3. "Utah Jazz coach Jerry Sloan resigns". ESPN.com. February 10, 2011. Retrieved February 10, 2011.
  4. McCallum, Jack (February 10, 2011). "Sloan's straightforward approach, and his winning, never changed". SI.com. Archived from the original on February 14, 2011.
  5. "10 Things You Need To Know about Utah Jazz Coach Jerry Sloan". Bleacher Report. Retrieved July 26, 2012.
  6. "Jerry Sloan". Basketball-Reference.com. Retrieved May 22, 2020.
  7. Monson, Gordon (July 16, 2019). "Monson: Pay a sweet silent tribute to Jerry Sloan, as the once-fierce lion's eyes grow sleepy". The Salt Lake Tribune. Archived from the original on July 17, 2019. Retrieved July 18, 2019.
  8. "Chicago Bulls Retired numbers". The Official Website of the Chicago Bulls. Retrieved August 21, 2016.
  9. Abrams, Jonathan (May 16, 2013). "Back in the Day: Travel in the Nba in". Grantland. Retrieved May 16, 2013.
  10. "The sorrows of a 1977 University of Evansville plane crash were felt by many in Pittsburgh". Retrieved May 22, 2020.
  11. J.A. Adande (December 9, 2008). "Jerry Sloan marks 20 years of a hard-driving style in Utah". ESPN.com. Retrieved July 26, 2012.
  12. "Bulls to name Westhead". The New York Times. June 28, 1982. Retrieved May 22, 2020.
  13. Kragthorpe, Kurt (December 9, 1988). "Layden quits as Jazz coach; Sloan steps in". Deseret News. Retrieved July 25, 2011.
  14. "NBA & ABA Playoffs Series History". Basketball-Reference.com. Retrieved May 22, 2020.
  15. "Utah Jazz Players". Basketball-Reference.com. Retrieved May 22, 2020.
  16. "Jerry Sloan's Greatest Accomplishments". Retrieved May 22, 2020.
  17. "Hughes: Utah's worst-case scenario". ESPN.com. September 25, 2003.
  18. "Jazz Statement on the Passing of Jerry Sloan". NBA.com. Retrieved May 22, 2020.
  19. "Sloan Earns 1000th Win". NBA.com. Retrieved February 10, 2011.
  20. "ESPN – Mitchell edges Sloan for coaching honor – NBA". ESPN.com. May 22, 2007. Retrieved July 26, 2012.
  21. "Sloan first coach with 1,000 wins for one team after Jazz victory". Sportsline.com. June 11, 2008. Archived from the original on February 3, 2013. Retrieved July 26, 2012.
  22. "Sloan suspended for shoving official". Sports Illustrated. December 19, 2013.
  23. Genessy, Jody (September 9, 2009). "Utah Jazz: Stockton choose Isiah, Sloan picks Barkley as HOF presenters". Deseret News. Retrieved May 3, 2012.
  24. Howard Cooper, Scott (February 7, 2011). "Sloan Signs One-Year Extension". NBA. Archived from the original on February 9, 2011.
  25. "Jerry Sloan resigns as Jazz head coach". ksl.com. Retrieved July 26, 2012.
  26. Berkes, Howard (February 10, 2011). "Jerry Sloan, The Longest-Serving Pro Sports Coach, Resigns". NPR.org. Archived from the original on February 14, 2011.
  27. "Sloan steps down as Jazz coach". MercuryNews.com. MediaNews Group. Associated Press. February 10, 2011. Archived from the original on August 15, 2011.
  28. "Deron Williams". Basketball-Reference.com. Retrieved May 3, 2012.
  29. Thomsen, Ian (February 23, 2011). "Williams trade reflects extreme times in NBA right now". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved May 3, 2012.
  30. Monson, Gordon (February 3, 2012). "A year later, Karl Malone calls out the Jazz on Jerry Sloan's exit". Salt Lake Tribune. Retrieved February 3, 2012.
  31. McDonald, Ryan (December 21, 2017). "Jazz notes: Gregg Popovich calls Jerry Sloan a 'mentor,' Utah makes roster change". Deseret News.
  32. Luhm, Steve (June 20, 2013). "Utah Jazz: Jerry Sloan rejoins organization as senior adviser". The Salt Lake Tribune. Retrieved May 24, 2020.
  33. Lea, Bill (January 27, 2014). "Jazz to Raise "1223" Banner to Honor Jerry Sloan". UtahJazz.com. NBA Media Ventures, LLC. Retrieved May 24, 2020.
  34. "Bobbye Sloan dies after battle with cancer – NBA". ESPN.com. June 18, 2004. Retrieved July 26, 2012.
  35. "Grant Sloan bio". Indiana Hoosiers official athletics website. Retrieved January 15, 2020.
  36. "Jerry Sloan remarries". 121s.com. Archived from the original on July 16, 2012. Retrieved July 26, 2012.
  37. Devine, Dan. "Video: Utah Jazz fan honors Jerry Sloan with tractor tattoo – Ball Don't Lie". Yahoo! Sports. Retrieved July 26, 2012.
  38. Freeman, Eric (August 3, 2011). "Jerry Sloan sold 68 of his 70 tractors". Yahoo! Sports. Retrieved May 3, 2012.
  39. Rock, Brad (August 3, 2012). "A(nother) housecleaning for Jerry Sloan". Deseret News. Retrieved May 3, 2012.
  40. Jeff Zillgitt (April 7, 2016). "Former Utah Jazz coach Jerry Sloan suffering from Parkinson's disease". USA Today. Retrieved April 28, 2016.
  41. "Hall of Fame coach Jerry Sloan passes away at 78". NBA.com (Press release). NBA Media Ventures, LLC. May 22, 2020. Retrieved May 24, 2020.
  42. "Jerry Sloan". Basketball Reference. Retrieved May 23, 2020.
  43. "Jerry Sloan". Basketball Reference. Retrieved May 23, 2020.
  44. "Classic NBA Quotes: Winning and Losing". NBA.com. Retrieved July 26, 2012.
  45. Tim Buckley (November 5, 2006). "Jazz erase 15-point deficit to douse Suns". Deseret News. Archived from the original on December 5, 2007. Retrieved July 26, 2012.