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Jerry Sloan Retires – The End Of An Era

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This is a sad day for Utah Jazz fans and likely for all NBA basketball fans in general as the longest tenured coach in the history of the game has stepped down. In the fickle world of the NBA, 245 coaches have come and gone during the time Coach Sloan has been at the helm of the Utah team. Whether or not you have agreed with some of the decisions made by this veteran coach who has lead his team for over 23 years it would be hard to dismiss the effect his coaching has had on the Utah Jazz and the basketball world. He has stood firm in his commitment to his team and his intention to get the very best out of his players, to work hard and to focus on the effective way to win games. His methods worked when they were carried out by the players and for most of his 23 years as coach his teams did follow Sloan’s lead and found great success.
The NBA has evolved in the last half dozen years to the point that many times it is the star players on teams who call the shots rather than the head coach. This approach would not work for Jerry Sloan. It remains to be seen how things will work with new head coach, Tyrone Corbin who has been tutored by Jerry Sloan and assistant coach Phil Jackson (who rendered his resignation along with Sloan) for some years. Gale Miller (along with her son and team owner, Greg Miller) offered full support for Corbin and encouraged him not to try to fill Jerry’s shoes but rather to stand on his shoulders and move forward. There is a long history and much mutual affection and respect between Jerry Sloan and the Miller family who have had his back for the last two plus decades.
At today’s press conference, Sloan suggested that the big reason he was stepping down was because he had less energy with which to do his job, deflecting blame from any other individual. Even so, the media is alive with suspicions that his exit had more to do with his relationship with his star guard, Deron Williams who at times appeared reluctant to follow Jerry’s direction. Whatever the reason, the sports world has lost a valiant, dedicated and successful coach whose coaching tactics may not set well with everyone but who was the epitome of integrity and hard work. His likes are seldom seen these days and will be sorely missed.

Nancy Smith is one of the owners of Robbinssports.com, an on-line retailer specializing in Basketball Uniforms and Portable Scoreboards