Jerry Sloan, Jazz Great and Hall of Fame Coach, Dies at 78

Jerry Sloan
AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez

Jerry Sloan, the Hall of Fame coach who was a fixture for decades in Utah and took the Jazz to the NBA Finals in 1997 and 1998, died Friday. He was 78.

The Jazz said he died from complications of Parkinson’s disease and Lewy body dementia. Sloan had been in failing health for many years.

Sloan spent 23 seasons coaching the Jazz. The team — with John Stockton and Karl Malone leading the way in many of those seasons — finished below .500 in only one of those years. Sloan won 1,221 games in his career, the fourth-highest total in NBA history. Only Lenny Wilkens, Don Nelson and Gregg Popovich have more victories.

“It was an honor and a privilege to have one of the greatest and most respected coaches in NBA history coaching our team,” the Miller family, who own the Jazz, said in a statement. “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.”

Utah went to the finals twice under Sloan, both times falling to Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls.

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