Sloan Represents A Dying Breed
Jerry Sloan, the longest-tenured coach in American pro sports, resigned today. Sloan was in the middle of his 23rd season with the Utah Jazz. His old school coaching mentality in the NBA represented a dying breed, where the only authority in sports came from the head coach. Ken Berger of CBSsports.com has more.
Amid reports of a growing rift with superstar Deron Williams that exploded in a heated halftime argument during Utah’s 91-86 loss to the Bulls on Wednesday night, Sloan reached the point of no return. For years — no, decades — the Jazz were on an island as one of the only teams that could not and would not be infiltrated by the whims of basketball divas and their power-hungry agents. Sloan spoke about it many times as he made the rounds across the country, a curiosity from another era in an environment where somebody’s always stomping his feet and trying to exert his own imagined version of authority.
To Sloan, the only authority in sports came from the coach, and that is how he was fortunate to function all those years with late owner Larry Miller at the wheel, showing his unwavering support for Sloan. That began to change two years ago this month with Miller’s death, and sources say Sloan sensed the sea change. He sensed the levy holding back all those egos, agendas and destabilizing forces was beginning to break.
I highly recommend reading Berger’s entire article. Sloan’s humble beginnings molded him into the no nonsense, no drama, modern day throwback became. However, Sloan never really transformed into anything. The game around him changed, while he remained the same. Sloan was inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in 2009, an honor that was much deserved. You have to respect a guy that never wavered in his approach. Why would he? Utah was a playoff team 20 times during Sloan’s reign.