Jerry Sloan, the Hall of Fame coach who propelled the Utah Jazz to 1,223 wins, died Friday at 78.
The Jazz announced the news on Friday, saying Sloan had died of complications from Parkinson's disease and Lewy body dementia. His 23 seasons with the Jazz made him the winningest coach in the franchise's history, and the third winningest coach in NBA history at the time of his retirement.
Sloan started his basketball career playing for the Chicago Bulls, with Bulls chairman Jerry Reinsdorf remembering him in a Friday statement as "'the Original Bull' whose tenacious defense and nightly hustle on the court represented the franchise and epitomized the city of Chicago." He returned to the team as a scout, and then an assistant coach, and then as the Bulls' head coach in 1979. But he only lasted three seasons there before moving to the Jazz, where he started as a scout and then became head coach in 1988.
While in Utah, Sloan led the Jazz to 1,223 wins and 20 trips to the NBA playoffs over his 23 seasons. The Jazz twice made it to the NBA finals under Sloan's watch, losing to the Bulls both times. Sloan was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2009, and retired from the team in 2011. "Jerry Sloan will always be synonymous with the Utah Jazz," the team said in a statement, adding that "we are so thankful for what he accomplished here in Utah and the decades of dedication, loyalty and tenacity he brought to our franchise."