Longtime Utah Jazz coach Jerry Sloan dies at 78

Longtime Utah Jazz coach Jerry Sloan dies at 78

The star Bulls' player and Hall of Fame Jazz coach died on Friday at age 78, having lost his battle with Parkinson's disease. He guided the Jazz to 15 consecutive playoff appearances from 1988 to 2003, and he ranks fourth on the career wins list behind Don Nelson, Lenny Wilkens and Gregg Popovich.

The organization said Sloan left a "tremendous impact" on the franchise after 23 years at the helm, where he racked up 1,223 Jazz coaching wins and 20 trips to the NBA Playoffs.

Opponents also paid homage to Sloan, including Oklahoma City Thunder guard Chris Paul and Pat Riley, the former Los Angeles Lakers, New York Knicks and Miami Heat head coach who is now the Heat's president.

The Jazz made it to the Finals twice under Sloan. None ended in sweeps, and in five of the six series, the losing team still won at least two games.

Sloan was recently seen in the ESPN documentary "The Last Dance" as part of the team's championship run that was foiled by Michael Jordan's Chicago Bulls.

Despite a record of success that included 16 consecutive winning seasons, thirteen 50-win seasons and 20 trips to the National Basketball Association play-offs, Sloan was never able to hoist the championship trophy.

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Sloan was a two-time All-Star and four-time All-Defensive First Team selection. "He was the first coach to win 1,000 games with the same organization, which came to embody the qualities that made Jerry a Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer: persistence, discipline, drive and selflessness".

"Jerry Sloan was "The Original Bull" whose tenacious defense and nightly hustle on the court represented the franchise and epitomized the city of Chicago.

Our thoughts are with Jerry's wife, Tammy, and their family, as well as his former players, colleagues and the Bulls and Jazz organizations". "We are so thankful for what he accomplished here in Utah and the decades of dedication, loyalty and tenacity he brought to our franchise", the statement read. "I never have been".

'The Miller family and Jazz organization will be proud to honour him with a permanent tribute'.

'We have appreciated our relationship with Jerry and acknowledge his dedication to and passion for the Utah Jazz.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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