A handful of local coaches paid tribute to Jerry Sloan Friday, while many in the NBA community took to social media to pay tribute to the former Utah Jazz head coach, who retired in 2011 as the longest-tenured head coach with one franchise in any major professional sport.
Sloan died Friday at the age of 78 after complications from Parkinson's disease and Lewy body dementia, the Jazz announced.
What They Said
I went to the Jerry Sloan, David Lee, Curt Reed basketball camp every year. Coach Sloan always taught man defense and every year he told us when he played in the NBA, he would eat garlic right before the game and breathe bad breathe on the guy he guarded the whole game! Coach Sloan made it big and always stayed humble and kind.
--Hamilton County High School alum and head boys basketball coach Doug Miller
The one thing that always impressed me about Jerry Sloan was that he never forgot that he was from McLeansboro. If the Foxes had a game over the NBA All Star break you would look up and he would be there. Same thing with at the end of the NBA season, he was always back in McLeansboro right after the season ended. I went to an auction with my dad one time as a kid and I looked up and there was Jerry Sloan standing beside us. He just looked at me and says "Hi Winemiller." I said "Hi Coach." It was no big deal for everyone else there. That always stuck with me that he could have come home for a couple of days here and there but that wasn't the case. McLeansboro was always home to him and that is pretty cool.
--McLeansboro native and Benton head boys' basketball coach Ron Winemiller
The thing about Jerry, the way he grew up, he had to work hard and battle for everything he got. That was one thing I was always impressed with. I grew up on a farm in Waltonville and some of us in that group each summer would attend the Rend Lake College Jr. Pro Basketball Camp, coached by Rich Herrin and Jim Wagh. Each year they would have someone from the NBA come in and speak and in the summer of 1973, Jerry Sloan came in basically went through the drills he would do to become a better basketball player. Here was a guy just like "us." A farm boy that I could relate to and worked hard and did things the right way. That was Jerry. He's a product of hard work and that's what got him to the NBA. He wasn't flashy and at the end of the ballgame, he got the job done. That's what I admired most about him.
--Former Benton High School coach Rod Shurtz
I loved everything about Jerry Sloan, from the way he played to the way he coached. He was a tenacious competitor who represented the Bulls of the 70's so well. Jerry became one of my favorite coaches when he was on the 1996 Dream Team staff and it was an honor to learn from him.
--Former Chicago Bull great Scottie Pippen via Twitter
It's a sad day for all of us who knew Jerry Sloan. Not only on the basketball court, but more importantly, as a human being. He was genuine and true and that is rare.
He was a mentor for me from afar until I got to know him. A man who suffered no fools. He possessed a humor, often disguised, and had a heart as big a the prairie.
-- San Antonio Spurs head coach Greg Popovich via Twitter
Jerry Sloan was among the NBA's most respected and admired legends," NBA commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement on Friday. "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. The clear identity that he established for Jazz Basketball -- unselfishness, toughness and the essential importance of Team -- has always left a palpable responsibility to strive for in carrying forward. He will be missed and mourned by the Jazz family, the NBA and beyond."
-- Utah Jazz head coach Quinn Snyder via Twitter
Prayers are with Jerry Sloan's family today. The game lost a legend
-- Oklahoma City Thunder point guard Chris Paul via Twitter
It was a privilege to play against a Jerry Sloan coached team, I always knew that we would be severely tested. His overall philosophy on both sides of the ball was fundamentally solid and always one step ahead of the game.
--Former Los Angeles Lakers, New York Knicks and Miami Head coach Pat Riley via Twitter
I didn't get to spend a lot of time playing for Coach Sloan, but coming in as a rookie he had a major impact on my transition to the NBA. I'm grateful for that. Prayers to his family, friends and loved ones. May he Rest In Peace.
--Former Jazz and Boston Celtic Gordon Hayward via Twitter
Completely heart broken this morning... Praying for Tammy and the family... Coach Allowed Me To Flourish And Take My Game To Another Level... As Ferocious As He Was On The Court & Sidelines, Off The Court He Was Thoughtful And Kind... Was So Amazing To My Family.. My Years In Utah Were Special Not Just Because Of My Teammates Or Larry Miller (our owner) But Large In Part To Coach Sloan Making It A Family First Environment! I Know You're In A Better Place, But We Miss You!!! Rest Easy Coach.
-- Former Utah Jazz Carlos Boozer via Instragram
Heaven better be ready for you Jerry. Go coach 'em up! Thanks for the privilege of playing for you. Rest In Peace coach.
-- Former Utah Jazz Thur Bailey via Twitter
RIP Coach.. You don't think of the Jazz without thinking of Coach Sloan, Thank You.
-- Former Utah Jazz Joe Ingles via Twitter
Very sad to hear about the passing of Coach Sloan this am. I'm praying for Tammy and their family during this time. I know things didn't end well between us in Utah, however I'm glad that i got the chance to sit down with him before it was too late. Definitely something that would have haunted me for the rest of my life. Blessed that i got to play for him and learn so much from him during my 5 1/2 years in Utah. You knew he always had your back when you stepped out on that court. #ripcoachsloan #legend
-- Former Jazz Deron Williams via Instagram
For those of y'all who don't know Coach Sloan or know my relationship with him you will look at this picture and say dang he's chewing you out or you aren't coachable and being disrespectful. But in all reality Coach Sloan took a chance on me a kid from Fayetteville, Arkansas and he challenged me to be a dog on defense and to be a better person a better player a better human being and he motivated me to finish college while playing in the NBA. He motivated me to never back down and never be afraid of anybody. Every game I used to tell him Coach I'm from the mud I'm tough I'm from Arkansas and I'm not scared of anybody. Well I know without a doubt in my mind this pic he was yelling at me to be tough and To be a dog on defense and don't back down. See we always got matched up with the Lakers and I had to guard Kobe Bryant , in all reality nobody can stop him all you can do is slow him down and try to contain him. 100% the Convo walking off the court all the time would be well Brewer be tough then and be a dog my response I got you coach you don't even gotta say it. I love ya I already miss you and I really appreciate you giving a kid from Fayetteville,Arkansas a chance in the NBA. RIP Jerry Sloan
-- Former Utah Jazz Ronnie Brewer