Utah Jazz head coach Jerry Sloan, shown here during a game in 2010, died Friday morning at the age of 78 due to complications from Parkinson’s disease and Lewy body dementia. | Kristin Murphy, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — Jerry Sloan, the tough, no-nonsense coach who guided the Utah Jazz through their glory years, died Friday at the age of 78.

In the fall of 2015, he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and Lewy body dementia, both contributing factors in his death.

Sloan was head coach of the Jazz for 23 years and led them during the Karl Malone-John Stockton era. His Jazz teams earned 19 playoff berths, six division titles and two appearances in the NBA Finals, where they had the misfortune to meet Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls. They lost both series 4-2.

There is a long list of superlatives that could sum up Sloan’s career, but two stand above the others: He was the longest tenured coach in professional sports when he retired abruptly in the middle of the 2011 season and he is the fourth winningest coach in NBA history, with 1,221 regular-season victories in 26 seasons, counting three seasons as head coach of the …read more


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