It’s a sad day for Utah Jazz fans. ‘Tis true. Jerry Sloan has resigned, ending his run of some 23 years as the Utah head coach. Sloan, who worked as a scout for the Jazz in the early 80s, took over as head coach in 1988 and built a true competitor out of a team that was lost in basketball obscurity.
Regardless of the fact that the team is still lost in geographic obscurity–though one of the most beautiful cities in the world–Sloan led the small market Utah Jazz from Salt Lake City to playoff season after playoff season. His head coaching career was highlighted in the mid-to-late 90s, when the Jazz appeared in two NBA Finals series, losing both to Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Dennis Rodman and the dominant Chicago Bulls dynasty.
I’ll never forget that finals stretch–Dennis Rodman popping off about Salt Lake City and Mormons. You just never knew what would come out of the mouth of The Worm.
According to insider reports, and anyone who follows the NBA, the growing divide between Utah Jazz GM Kevin O’Connor and All-Star point-guard Deron Williams had grown detrimental to the rest of the team. Simply put, Sloan became exhausted with it. If I were another player on the Jazz, I would be exhausted with it, too.
At 68, it seems that Jerry Sloan will probably stay away from the game in a coaching capacity, but in the same breath the name Jerry Sloan is synonymous with basketball. Perhaps his old school coaching style would fit better in the right college environment, or helping out with the USA squads for FIBA and Olympic play.
Many thanks to Coach Sloan, and what he offered to the game.