After leaving the basketball world aghast in 2011 with his sudden resignation, Jerry Sloan is returning to the Utah Jazz.
Jody Genessy of the Deseret News has the story from team CEO Greg Miller:
Hall of Fame coach Jerry Sloan has been hired back by the Utah Jazz in an unspecified position, according to CEO Greg Miller.— Jody Genessy (@DJJazzyJody) June 19, 2013
Steve Luhm of the Salt Lake Tribune reports that the position will be that of a senior adviser.
Update: Jazz close to naming Brad Jones but will announce shortly Jerry Sloan to rejoin team as a senior advisor. More to come.— Steve Luhm (@sluhm) June 19, 2013
The 71-year-old Hall of Famer is one of the most respected—and successful—NBA minds in the business, and it seemed to be only a matter of time before he returned to the game in some capacity.
Jerry Sloan's new position with the Utah Jazz will entail a wide scope of duties from pro personnel to college scouting, a source confirmed.— Jody Genessy (@DJJazzyJody) June 19, 2013
Jerry Sloan has been working with the Jazz coaching staff and front office on a daily basis for much of the past month.— Jody Genessy (@DJJazzyJody) June 19, 2013
After coaching the Chicago Bulls—the team with which he had his number retired—for three years to start his head-coaching career, Sloan moved to Utah, where he took over for Frank Layden and had an impact on the organization that will likely never be duplicated.
He led the Jazz to 15 straight playoff appearances, including the NBA Finals in 1997 and 1998. After missing out on the postseason from 2004 to 2006, he took them back four more times before eventually stepping down in the middle of the 2010-11 season.
When it was all said and done, Sloan had amassed a record of 1,127-682 (.623), including 13 seasons with at least 50 wins, and 19 playoff appearances in 23 years with the Jazz.
When he told the Deseret News the Jazz contacted him about returning, Jerry Sloan said it was up to them. "I'd hate to be in anybody's way."— Jody Genessy (@DJJazzyJody) June 19, 2013
Overall, he has the third-most wins of any head coach in NBA history.
And, if all of that doesn't fully showcase his immense worth as a head coach, know that in 2004, he carried a Jazz team that was led by a young Andrei Kirilenko, Raja Bell, Matt Harpring, Carlos Arroyo, DeShawn Stevenson and Greg Ostertag, among others (Tom Gugliotta and Michael Ruffin each received over 20 starts that season), to a 42-40 record.
Sloan often receives criticism for his old-school approach to the game, but his results speak for themselves.
It remains to be seen whether Sloan will have the same level of impact on the franchise as he did while at the coaching helm, but the Jazz will have one of the game's great minds at its disposal.