Hall-of-Fame Utah Jazz Coach Jerry Sloan Dead at 78

May 22, 2020

Photo by AP Photo Douglas C. Pizac

Jerry Sloan, who starred for the Chicago Bulls before failing to topple them in the NBA Finals as the head coach of the Utah Jazz, passed away Friday at the age of 78 after a long battle with Parkinson's disease and Lewy body dementia, ESPN reports. Sloan was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2009 after coaching the Jazz to 15 consecutive playoff appearances and a pair of Western Conference titles. Led by Karl Malone and John Stockton, his conference-champion Jazz squads came up short in two Finals tries against Michael Jordan's Chicago Bulls, a rivalry that was recently featured in ESPN's Last Dance. After finishing his playing career with the Bulls, Sloan accepted the head-coaching job at his alma mater, Evansville, in March 1977--but backed out after five days for personal reasons. In December of that year, the collegiate team's plane crashed after takeoff, killing everyone aboard.