Utah Jazz coach Jerry Sloan will apparently resign today, along with assistant coach Phil Johnson. Jerry Sloan has coached the Utah Jazz for 23 years now, making him the longest-tenured coach in any of the four major sports. It has been quite a run for Sloan, and if it is indeed coming to an end on Thursday, it could be a sad day for the Utah Jazz and their fans.
According to Deseret News, a press conference will be held by the Utah Jazz on the afternoon of Thursday, Feb. 10. At that conference, it will be announced that both Sloan and his assistant coach will resign from the team, possibly revealing the reasons behind this decision. It is pretty surprising the move is coming at this point, though, because Sloan just signed a one-year contract extension to remain with the team back on Monday. Something changed his mind in the last few days, though, and now the Jazz could be searching for a new coach.
The Utah Jazz is on a cold streak right now, losing 10 of the last 14 games; maybe Sloan has just reached the end of his ability to deal with losing streaks like this one. The cold streak by the Jazz has them down to a record of 31-23, and has seen them drop down to the sixth spot in the Western Conference right now. One more loss could allow the Denver Nuggets to pass them, and the Portland Trail Blazers have been sneaking up as well.
Something was clearly going on Wednesday night when the Jazz lost to the Chicago Bulls at home; a red flag should have been seen when Sloan didn’t come out of his office after the game for quite a while. Not much was made about it at the time, but now that could be viewed as the time when Sloan made the decision that he was done coaching the Jazz.
If this is indeed the end of the road for Jerry Sloan in the NBA, he will leave with a combined 26-year career as a coach. That is in addition to being a player, taken as the fourth overall pick in the 1965 NBA Draft by the Baltimore Bullets. Sloan played 11 years with Baltimore and Chicago, putting together several very good years as a player before he decided to become a coach. He began coaching in the 1979-80 season for the Bulls, eventually taking over as the coach of the Jazz in the 1989-90 season. He has been the coach of the Jazz ever since that date, leading them to the NBA Finals with the help of Karl Malone and John Stockton.
If the report is correct, Sloan will end his tenure with the Jazz with a combined coaching record of 1,121-803. This is not to say that Sloan is retiring, though, as he could be brought back with another team looking to get veteran leadership from their coach. The Jazz, though, may be heading in a different direction after his resignation — and that might not be a good thing at all.