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Jerry Sloan: Longtime Utah Jazz coach dies aged 78

Friday 22 May 2020 16:54, UK

Jerry Sloan led Utah Jazz over more than two decades
Image: Jerry Sloan led Utah Jazz over more than two decades

Jerry Sloan, the Hall of Fame coach who took the Utah Jazz to the NBA Finals in 1997 and 1998, has died aged 78.

The Jazz, who Sloan coached for 23 season, announced his passing on Twitter with a photo captioned "Rest easy, coach."

"Jerry Sloan will always be synonymous with the Utah Jazz. He will forever be a part of the Utah Jazz organisation and we join his family, friends and fans in mourning his loss," the team said in a statement.

"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 (John) Stockton and (Karl) Malone as players, Jerry Sloan epitomised the organisation.

"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."

Sloan's Jazz side included the likes of John Stockton
Image: Sloan's Jazz side included the likes of John Stockton

Sloan revealed in 2016 he had been diagnosed with Parkinson's disease.

He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2009.

He spent 23 years as head coach of the Jazz and 26 as a coach in the NBA. The Jazz went to the playoffs 20 times in his 23 seasons, including back-to-back trips to the NBA Finals in 1996-97 and 1997-98.

An original member of the expansion Chicago Bulls in 1966-67, Sloan jumped to coaching after an 11-year playing career.

He was known for his hard-nosed defense as a player but also averaged 18.3 points per game in 1970-71.

Sloan was a two-time All-Star and four-time All-Defensive First Team selection.