In a surprise announcement, Jerry Sloan announced his resignation from his role as the Utah Jazz head coach.
Gerald Eugene “Jerry” Sloan was born on March 28, 1942 in Gobbler’s Knob, Illinois. After attending the University of Evansville he was picked to the NBA Draft by the Baltimore Bullets after his junior year but he decided to stay in college and an year later he was picked again by the Bullets.
In the NBA Jerry Sloan played one season with the Bullets and then another ten seasons with the Chicago Bulls. In 1976 a knee injury forced him to end his career as a player and decided to become a coach.
In 1979 Sloan became the Chicago Bulls head coach but the best part of his career began in 1988 when he became the Utah Jazz head coach.
Jerry Sloan took Karl Malone, John Stockton and the other players from that great team to two consecutive NBA Finals in 1996 and 1997, stopped only by Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls.
In the following years the team didn’t reach that level of success but Jerry Sloan’s position always seemed steadfast, a fixed point in the years in a league where few coaches remain for several years on the same bench.
It’s obvious that after 23 years and 1,221 wins as a NBA coach it’s shocking to see Jerry Sloan resign. Point guard Deron Williams has been mentioned by many as a possible culprit for alleged disagreements with Sloan but it’s hard to believe that a coach used to handle players with a strong personality can suddenly being influenced by one of them.
Deron Williams is definitely not happy with the Utah Jazz situation but rather than with the coach his problem is with the management who traded high-level players to other teams. Williams obviously wants a winning team to try and win the NBA title so having a team with the perspective of going out in the first playoffs round can only make him think that he’ll will be a free agent in 2012 and he’ll look for a team more suited to his ambitions.
Maybe even Jerry Sloan has realized that there’s so much he can do with this team and at 68 it’s time to step aside. Sloan said he didn’t have as much energy as he used to and that makes sense. Maybe later some revelation will shed some light on his decision, for the moment any theory is good.
Jerry Sloan has never led the Utah Jazz to the NBA title: under this point of view sport is cruel and sometimes it diminishes great people’s deeds so it’s just right to honor a great coach who has nevertheless contributed significantly to the NBA history.