PDA

View Full Version : Sloan will be back with the Jazz next year


MFFL
05-16-2003, 12:11 AM
SALT LAKE CITY --Jerry Sloan isn't ready to retire to his Illinois farm just yet.

Sloan, whose 15 seasons with the Jazz is the longest tenure among any head coach or manager in the four major pro sports, said Tuesday he has agreed to a contract extension that will keep him with the Utah Jazz through 2006.

"When the season was over I was very concerned about whether I would be able to put the energy into it,'' Sloan said. "But I think after you have a chance to get away from it a little bit and kind of see what your thoughts are, those questions are pretty much answered.''

Sloan, who still had a year remaining on his contract, was considering retirement after the Jazz were knocked out of the playoffs in the opening round for the third straight year.

It took a little more than a week at his farm in McLeansboro, Ill., for the 61-year-old to decide he wants to keep coaching.

"When you get beat up a little bit you feel like sometimes you want to run and hide but I think if you have any fight in you, you want to come back and try to go at it again,'' Sloan said during a conference call. "If you're a competitive person, you want to go at it again. It's hard to back off and just duck your head and walk away.''

Terms of the deal were not announced.

The Jazz have never missed the playoffs under Sloan and won consecutive Western Conference titles in 1997 and 1998.

By returning, Sloan may have locked himself into the most difficult challenge of his basketball career since the Chicago Bulls picked him No. 1 in the 1966 expansion draft.

For the first time during Sloan's era in Utah, John Stockton will no longer be running the offense. After 19 seasons with the Jazz, Stockton is retiring.

And Karl Malone, the Jazz's leading scorer for the last 17 seasons, is considering leaving as a free agent.

"No one wanted to see Stockton retire and go away, but that's part of this business,'' Sloan said. "We know we can't replace him, but we still have to go to compete. That's the one thing. If you like to do that, you have the opportunity to go try it again.''

Sloan said he hadn't talked to Malone about his future and didn't plan to. Once Malone makes up his mind, Sloan and his assistants, who also are staying, will take a look at who's returning and who Utah plans to pick in the draft next month.

Sloan replaced Frank Layden as coach early in the 1988-89 season and is 781-400 with the Jazz. He was also 94-121 while coaching 2 seasons with the Bulls.

Known for his quick temper and straight talk, Sloan has not mellowed with age. The low point of the season and possibly his career came in January, when he shoved referee Courtney Kirkland during a game at Sacramento and was suspended for seven games.

Sloan has been apologizing since.

"I made some mistakes and I wish I had never done that and put myself in that position,'' Sloan said. "But you've got to be a little bit tougher than that sometimes and go on and hope you don't have any other problems.''

Sloan finished third in the 2003 coach-of-the-year voting after guiding the Jazz to a 47-35 record, a three-game improvement over 2001-02. Without Stockton and possibly Malone, improving on 2003 could prove difficult.

But Sloan said he's looking forward to the challenge, which he calls an opportunity to see how well he can coach without two of the players named among the NBA's top 50 ever.

Jazz management is confident Sloan is still the right coach as the organization moves out of the Stockton-to-Malone era.

"I just think it's so important to have continuity and be able to have stability. Certainly Jerry brings both of those to the table for us,'' said Kevin O'Connor, Jazz vice president of basketball operations. "He brings a Hall of Fame coach. I know he doesn't want to hear me say any of this stuff, but I'm going to say it anyway. We're thrilled to have him back.''

Drbio
05-16-2003, 09:15 AM
I think he should stay. He has a lot to offer the younger guys on that team.

LRB
05-16-2003, 12:43 PM
Although I'd kill to get a little transfusion of Sloan's attitude placed in Dirk. i/expressions/face-icon-small-happy.gif