(670 The Score) Jerry Sloan, a Hall of Fame coach and one of four players in Bulls history to have his number retired, died Friday morning, the Jazz organization said in a statement. He was 78.
Sloan was suffering from Parkinson’s disease and Lewy body dementia.
Sloan was best-known for leading the Jazz for 23 seasons from 1988-2011, over which he amassed 1,221 wins, the third-most in NBA history. His .603 winning percentage is the sixth-best of any coach in NBA history with a minimum of 500 wins. He guided the Jazz to 16 straight winning seasons and 13 50-win seasons.
Sloan led the Jazz to the NBA Finals in 1997 and 1998. The Bulls defeated them both times.
Sloan was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2009.
"Jerry Sloan will always be synonymous with the Utah Jazz," the Jazz said in a statement. "He will forever be a part of the Utah Jazz organization and we join his family, friends and fans in mourning his loss. We are so thankful for what he accomplished here in Utah and the decades of dedication, loyalty and tenacity he brought to our franchise.
"His hard-nosed approach only made him more beloved. Even after his retirement, his presence at Jazz games always brought a roaring response from the crowd.
"Like Stockton and Malone as players, Jerry Sloan epitomized the organization. He will be greatly missed. We extend our heartfelt condolences to his wife, Tammy, the entire Sloan family and all who knew and loved him."
Sloan played for the Bulls from 1966-'76 and coached them from 1979-'82. The Bulls retired his jersey in a celebration at Chicago Stadium in February 1978. He was a two-time All-Star and earned all-defense honors six times.
"Jerry Sloan was ‘The Original Bull’ whose tenacious defense and nightly hustle on the court represented the franchise and epitomized the city of Chicago," Bulls chairman Jerry Reinsdorf said in a statement. "Jerry was the face of the Bulls organization from its inception through the mid-1970s and very appropriately, his uniform No. 4 was the first jersey retired by the team. A great player and a Hall of Fame NBA coach, most importantly, Jerry was a great person. Our sympathies go out to the Sloan family and all his many fans."