Jerry Sloan: A Coaching Mastermind

Jerry Sloan: A Coaching Mastermind

Gerald Eugene Sloan, known as Jerry Sloan is a former American basketball player and coach who played between 1965 and 1976 in the NBA. Also, he trained for three years the Chicago Bulls (1979-1982) and from 1988 to 2011 the Utah Jazz.

After studying at the University of Evansville, Sloan was selected by the Baltimore Bullets as the 4th pick in the 1965 NBA Draft. After a year, he moved to his “home club,” the Chicago Bulls. There he played until his career end in 1976. During this time Sloan was considered one of the best defenders in the league and was selected to the NBA All-Star game in 1967 and 1969. There were also several selections to the All-NBA defensive team.

During his eleven-year professional career, Sloan scored 14.0 points, 7.4 rebounds, and 2.5 assists per game. In his honor, the Bulls pulled back his jersey number 4. After completing his professional career, Sloan was first the Bulls scout before he was promoted to assistant coach and then from 1979 to 1982, he was the head coach of the Bulls. He was released after a disappointing start to the third season. Sloan moved to Utah Jazz, who hired him in 1984 as an assistant coach. In 1988 Sloan succeeded Frank Layden as head coach of Jazz.

Sloan formed the team around Karl Malone and John Stockton to a title contender, but only in 1997 managed to get into the NBA finals. There they were defeated by Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls. The following year, both teams met again, with the same result. The Stockton-Malone era in Utah ended in 2003 when Stockton announced his retirement and Malone joined the Los Angeles Lakers. Sloan stayed in Utah and stood there before the new beginning.

On April 6, 2009, Sloan was inducted to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame with Michael Jordan, David Robinson, and John Stockton. Sloan is one of the most successful coaches in NBA history with more than 1000 victories. In 18 of his total of 23 years, he led Utah to the playoffs. After a series of defeats during the 2010/11 season, Sloan resigned from his post as head coach of Utah Jazz in February after a loss against the Chicago Bulls. The successor was his assistant coach and former Jazz player Tyrone Corbin.

During the summer of 2013, there were speculations about a return of Sloan as a coach to the Portland Trail Blazers, but it did not happen. Sloan instead returned to Jazz in a smaller role. There he took on tasks in the player development and consulting. On January 31, 2014, the Utah Jazz honored Sloan with a banner numbered 1223. The number 1223 is the sum of all the season and playoff victories Sloan has achieved with Jazz.