Jerry Sloan's resignation last week marked the end of an era in the NBA.
In his twenty-three years coaching the Utah Jazz, his teams had a consistent style —pick-and-roll basketball and a motion offense on one end and tough, hard-nosed defense on the other—and they consistently won—missing the playoffs only three times and finishing with less than 40 wins only once.
The NBA he left in 2011—where most American players learned the game in the free-for-all environment of AAU basketball as teenagers and with an ever-growing international influence—had little resemblance to the league he joined as a tough-nosed guard out of the University of Evansville in 1965.
But one thing hasn't changed: having a seven-footer who can dominate the paint is still the key to winning championships in a game involving throwing a ball through a cylinder raised 10-feet off the ground. And without that dominant seven-footer, it's almost impossible to win it all.
There's only so much a coach can do, even a first-ballot Hall of Famer like Sloan. During his twenty-three tenure, exactly six coaches won championships: Chuck Daly, Phil Jackson, Rudy Tomjanovich, Gregg Popovich, Larry Brown and Pat Riley.
But in America, where "if you ain't first, your last," a title is still seen as the ultimate vindication of a coaching career.
With that in mind, here are the 10 recent NBA coaches who most deserve that elusive ring: