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Longtime Utah Jazz coach Jerry Sloan dies at 78 years old

Longtime Utah Jazz coach Jerry Sloan dies at 78 years old”

He is second on the NBA's all-time list for consecutive games coached with one franchise (1,809). Sloan had been in failing health for many years. The youngest of 10 children, Sloan lost his father at a young age and, without a vehicle, had to hitchhike to get to his youth games. "In the insane world of the National Basketball Association and all the insane stories you hear everyday and here's this guy who's from [Illinois] the heartland of America who just came to work, put his work boots on and just said, 'Let's get to it.' It was just something that is a rare find in the world today and I think that's what made him so unique and what everybody loved about him". He's loyal. He's a hard worker. He played one season with the Baltimore Bullets before being selected by the Bulls in the 1966 expansion draft. Sloan made the all-star team in 1967 and 1969 and earned six all-defense selections. Over his 10 years in the organization, he averaged 14.7 points, 7.7 rebounds, 2.6 assists, and 2.2 steals per game. After a stint as an assistant in Utah, he took over the top job with the Jazz in 1988 and was a fixture courtside until he retired in 2011.

"Jerry was the face of the Bulls organization from its inception through the mid-1970s, and very appropriately, his uniform No. 4 was the first jersey retired by the team", Bulls chairman Jerry Reinsdorf said Friday.

Utah became Sloan's second home, and his timing was flawless.

Sloan's longevity with the Jazz was remarkable.

The 75-year-old Riley and Sloan faced each other on the sidelines over the course of 17 National Basketball Association seasons, and while Sloan never managed to win an National Basketball Association title like Riley, it's clear that Riley's deep respect for him resonated in the statement. He coached franchise icons Karl Malone, John Stockton and Mark Eaton out of the gates.

Sloan, who was suffering from Parkinson's disease and Lewy body dementia, was 78.

"Jerry Sloan will always be synonymous with the Utah Jazz", the team said in a statement.

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'We are so thankful for what he accomplished here in Utah and the decades of dedication, loyalty and tenacity he brought to our franchise.

"Like Stockton and Malone as players, Jerry Sloan epitomized the organization", he Jazz said in a statement.

'He will be greatly missed.

Known for his defensive intensity as a player, Sloan became a fan favorite as one of the "Original Bulls".

Williams, who was traded shortly after Sloan's departure, said Friday that they had patched things up in recent years. "Definitely something that would have haunted me for the rest of my life".

'His hard-nosed approach only made him more beloved.



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