Legendary Jazz Coach Jerry Sloan Passes Away at 78 After Battle With Parkinson's and Dementia

Utah Jazz head coach Jerry Sloan
Utah Jazz head coach Jerry Sloan / Focus On Sport/Getty Images

One of the greatest NBA coaches that ever lived left us early Friday morning.

Jerry Sloan, who won over 1,000 games as the head coach of the Utah Jazz, passed away at the age of 78 after years of declining health.

A former star at Evansville and a No. 4 overall pick, Sloan became one of the best players in Chicago Bulls history. He was named to six All-Defense teams and his No. 4 hangs in the rafters of the United Center.

Sloan became a head coach with the Bulls, but was fired in 1982 after a 19-31 run. He became a Jazz assistant in 1985 before being named head coach in 1988. From there, Sloan built the team into one of the NBA's most consistent winners until his retirement in 2011 despite being almost unable to reel in top free agents every year,

Thanks to players like bruising power forward Karl Malone and instinctive point guard John Stockton, along with his trademark defense-heavy style, Sloan won 1,127 games in 23 seasons, making the playoffs in all but three seasons. He was inducted into the basketball Hall of Fame in 2009.

Sloan's health has been deteriorating over the last few years, as he suffered from Parkinson's and dementia, with Malone confirming a few days ago he was "not doing well."

Sloan helped turn Utah into one of the most successful franchises in the league over the last few decades, and his name will live on forever in the Beehive State.