MCLEANSBORO — Long time Utah Jazz head coach and McLeansboro native Jerry Sloan has passed away. Sloan died of complications from Parkinson’s disease and Lewy body dementia at the age of 78.
McLeansboro mayor Dick Deitz played basketball at Hamilton County High School with Sloan. He says there was no better ambassador for the city and Hamilton County than his friend Jerry Sloan.
After his early days in southern Illinois, Sloan went on to play basketball at the University of Evansville before playing and coaching in the NBA for more than 45 years. Sloan wrapped up his head coaching career with the Jazz in third place on the list of NBA wins as a coach all-time.
Southern Illinois saw many benefits over the years from the Bobbye and Jerry Sloan Hand-in-Hand Foundation. Many area residents and businesses supported and worked with the Hand-in-Hand Foundation over the years. Several of us at Dana Communications had the pleasure of working with Jerry and the Hand-in-Hand foundation. His legacy as a player, coach, philanthropist and just a legendary guy will be remembered by all. Dana Withers and the staff of Dana Communications extends deepest sympathies to the Sloan Family.
Jazz Statement on the Passing of Jerry Sloan
The Utah Jazz have issued the following statement and background information in response to the passing of NBA and Jazz legend Jerry Sloan
The Utah Jazz have issued the following statement and background information in response to the passing of NBA and Jazz legend Jerry Sloan earlier this morning due to complications from Parkinson’s disease and Lewy body dementia at the age of 78:
From the Utah Jazz:
“Jerry Sloan will always be synonymous with the Utah Jazz. He will forever be a part of the Utah Jazz organization and we join his family, friends and fans in mourning his loss. We are so thankful for what he accomplished here in Utah and the decades of dedication, loyalty and tenacity he brought to our franchise.
“Our Hall of Fame coach for 23 years, Jerry had a tremendous impact on the Jazz franchise as expressed by his banner hanging in the arena rafters. His 1,223 Jazz coaching wins, 20 trips to the NBA Playoffs and two NBA Finals appearances are remarkable achievements. His hard-nosed approach only made him more beloved. Even after his retirement, his presence at Jazz games always brought a roaring response from the crowd.
“Like Stockton and Malone as players, Jerry Sloan epitomized the organization. He will be greatly missed. We extend our heartfelt condolences to his wife, Tammy, the entire Sloan family and all who knew and loved him.”
From the Miller Family:
“It was an honor and a privilege to have one of the greatest and most respected coaches in NBA history coaching our team. We have appreciated our relationship with Jerry and acknowledge his dedication to and passion for the Utah Jazz. He has left an enduring legacy with this franchise and our family. The far-reaching impact of his life has touched our city, state and the world as well as countless players, staff and fans. We pray his family will find solace and comfort in Jerry’s life. The Miller family and Jazz organization will be proud to honor him with a permanent tribute.”
A 2009 inductee into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, Sloan spent 23 seasons as the head coach of the Jazz (1988-2011), finishing his career with the third most wins in NBA history (1,221-803), sixth best winning percentage (.603) all-time (min. 500 wins), two NBA Finals appearances (1997 and 1998) and seven division titles. He also guided the Jazz to 16 consecutive winning seasons and thirteen 50-win seasons. Sloan’s teams made 20 trips to the NBA Playoffs (19 with Utah: 1989-2003, ’07-10) and his 98 playoff wins are the sixth most in NBA history.
Sloan ranks second on the NBA’s all-time list for consecutive games coached with one franchise (1,809), and also owns the second most wins with one team (1,127). Sloan is one of just seven coaches in league history to win at least 50 games in 10 different seasons (Rick Adelman, Don Nelson, Pat Riley, Phil Jackson, Gregg Popovich and George Karl). Sloan’s 16 consecutive winning seasons (1988-2004) are fourth-most all-time (Popovich-22, Jackson-20, Riley-19) and he joined Popovich (22), Jackson (11) and Red Auerbach (11) as the only four coaches in NBA history to have 10 straight winning seasons with one team. Sloan was the first coach to ever win 1,000 games with one franchise and was the fifth coach in NBA history to record 1,000 career wins.
After leading the Jazz to a 42-40 record in 2003-04 in the first season following the departures of John Stockton and Karl Malone, Sloan was selected by The Sporting News as the NBA Coach of the Year as voted on by his NBA peers, and was runner-up for the Red Auerbach NBA Coach of the Year as voted by a panel of national media that covers the NBA. He also finished second in NBA Coach of the Year balloting in 2006-07. He was named NBA Western Conference Coach of the Month 10 times during his career. In 2016, Sloan was honored at halftime of that night’s NBA Finals Game 3 in Cleveland as the co-recipient of the Chuck Daly Lifetime Achievement Award by the National Basketball Coaches Association (along with former Celtics coach K.C. Jones).
Sloan worked for the Jazz organization for 34 years as either head coach, assistant, scout or senior basketball adviser. Sloan started with the Jazz as a scout (1983-84), became an assistant coach to Frank Layden on Nov. 19, 1984, and was named the sixth head coach in franchise history on December 9, 1988, when Layden resigned. Twenty-three seasons and 1,809 games later, Sloan finished his career as the Jazz’s winningest coach based on both wins and winning percentage (1,127-682, .623). The longest tenured coach with one franchise in all of major professional sports at the time of his retirement, there were 245 NBA head coaching changes during his Jazz coaching career. Sloan coached 133 different players during his tenure as head coach of the Jazz.
Sloan’s banner at Vivint Smart Home arena hangs next to five of his former players whose numbers are retired: Mark Eaton (53), Darrell Griffith (35), Jeff Hornacek (14), Karl Malone (32) and John Stockton (12); his former head coach and general manager Frank Layden (1); longtime Jazz owner Larry H. Miller (9), legendary broadcaster “Hot” Rod Hundley (3051) and former Jazz players Adrian Dantley (4) and Pete Maravich (7).
A veteran of the NBA as a player and coach for more than 45 years, prior to joining the Jazz, Sloan coached the Chicago Bulls for three seasons (1979-82) and was a two-time NBA All-Star as a player (1967, 1969) over 11 NBA seasons with Chicago and Baltimore (1965-76). Sloan became the first player in Bulls’ history to have his number retired when the franchise retired his No. 4 jersey on Feb. 17, 1978.