Jazz coaching legend Jerry Sloan dies at 78
Rocky Widner / National Basketball Association / Getty

Former Utah Jazz head coach Jerry Sloan died at age 78 due to complications from Parkinson's disease and Lewy body dementia, the Jazz announced Friday.

Sloan was head coach of the Jazz for 23 seasons between 1988 and 2011.

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

NBA commissioner Adam Silver released a statement Friday afternoon.

"Jerry Sloan was among the NBA's most respected and admired legends. After an All-Star playing career in which his relentless style shaped the Chicago Bulls in their early years, he became one of the all-time greatest head coaches during 23 seasons with the Utah Jazz - the second-longest tenure in league history," Silver said. "He was the first coach to win 1,000 games with the same organization, which came to embody the qualities that made Jerry a Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer: persistence, discipline, drive, and selflessness."

The Jazz added: "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."

After spending 10 years with the Chicago Bulls as a player, Sloan's coaching career began in 1977 when the club hired him as an assistant coach. He was then promoted to head coach for the 1979-80 season. He served as the Bulls bench boss for three seasons and took the team to the postseason in 1981.

"Jerry Sloan was 'The Original Bull' whose tenacious defense and nightly hustle on the court represented the franchise and epitomized the city of Chicago," Chicago's chairman Jerry Reinsdorf said in a statement. "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.

"A great player and a Hall of Fame NBA coach, most importantly, Jerry was a great person. Our sympathies go out to the Sloan family and all his many fans."

Years later, he was named an assistant with the Jazz in 1985 and remained in the role for four seasons before taking over head coaching duties. He stepped down midway through the 2010-11 season. He managed a 1,127-682 regular-season record and went 96-100 in the playoffs over 23 years in Utah.

His 1,221 career wins were the third-most in NBA history when he resigned in 2011. He has since been surpassed by longtime San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich.

Sloan was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2009.

Comments
Jazz coaching legend Jerry Sloan dies at 78
  Got something to say? Leave a comment below!
Daily Newsletter
Get the latest trending sports news daily in your inbox