Jerry Sloan, the longtime Utah Jazz head coach who led the team to the NBA Finals twice and ranks third among NBA coaches on the all-time wins list, has died. He was 78.
Sloan died on Friday morning due to complications from Parkinson’s disease and Lewy body dementia, according to a statement 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,” the statement read.
The organization said Sloan left a “tremendous impact” on the franchise after 23 years at the helm, where he racked up 1,223 Jazz coaching wins and 20 trips to the NBA Playoffs.
“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,” the team said.
He is survived by his wife, Tammy, and four children.
“Coach Sloan is what the NBA should be about. Committed to your teammates, your coaches, your organization and the game of basketball, he’s never asked for credit,” said former professional basketball player John Stockton, who spent his whole career with the Jazz.
“In fact, he avoids it. His record speaks for itself, and he’s created an environment for his teams to win—and they do,” Stockton said. “I’m fortunate to have played for him.”