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Jerry Sloan resigns as Jazz head coach

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SALT LAKE CITY -- Utah Jazz head coach Jerry Sloan and assistant Phil Johnson stepped down from their positions effective immediately.

Sloan, Johnson and Jazz management made the announcement at a press conference Thursday afternoon.

Assistant Ty Corbin has been named the new head coach.

After team president Randy Rigby made the announcement, Jerry Sloan said with a handkerchief in hand, "26 years is a long time to be with an organization. My time is up and it's time for me to move on."

He also plainly stated he is not looking for another job.

Johnson said, "I'm older than Jerry, and I can't stay here another 23 years. I've been thinking about (retiring) all year."

Sloan, the longest-tenured coach in the four major professional sports, hinted that something was in the works after delaying his postgame press conference Wednesday for more than 30 minutes because of what he said was a meeting with Jazz general manager Kevin O'Connor.


Sloan just recently signed a one-year contract extension to carry him through the 2011-2012 season, but he also indicated that he would not make anything official until after the current season.

Things apparently boiled over in a postgame meeting with O'Connor.

The team started 15-5 but fell to 31-23 after the loss to Chicago, the only other team Sloan has coached (he was 94-121 in nearly three seasons with the Bulls). The Chicago loss was the third straight at home, where the Jazz are only 17-11 this season.

Sloan was asked after Wednesday's game if there was need for a shake-up.

"I don't think there's any great need for panic," he said. "Kevin is always evaluating what we can do or what someone wants to do with another team and that's part of the business. Every day that's part of his job."

Greg Miller, CEO of the Larry H. Miller Group of Companies, said, "Nobody pushed Jerry or Phil out. Not players, coaches nor ownership."

Miller also said he respects Sloan's and Johnson's decision, but wanted them to stay. In fact, General Manager Kevin O'Connor said they were trying to convince them both to stay 10 minutes before the press conference.

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Corbin said this is a bittersweet day and that he looks forward to this new opportunity, but he and had no idea both coaches were leaving and respectfully asked that both coaches "get the time and attention they deserve."

Sloan began working for the Jazz as a scout in 1983, became assistant to coach Frank Layden on Nov. 19, 1984, and was named the sixth coach in franchise history on Dec. 9, 1988, when Layden resigned.

He is the only coach in NBA history to win 1,000 games with one team, a feat he accomplished Nov. 7 against Oklahoma City. Sloan's other wins came with the Chicago Bulls from 1979 to 1982.

While he has headed the Jazz, there have been 245 coaching changes around the league _ 13 alone by the Los Angeles Clippers, and five current NBA teams (Charlotte, Memphis, Toronto, Orlando and Minnesota) did not even exist when Sloan took the helm in Utah.

He ranks third all-time in NBA wins (1,221) behind Don Nelson (1,335) and Lenny Wilkens (1,332).

Sloan also is one of only three coaches in NBA history with 15-plus consecutive seasons with a winning record. Pat Riley and Phil Jackson, both with 19, are the others.

As a player with the Bulls, Sloan averaged 14.0 points, 7.5 rebounds and 2.5 assists in 755 games played over 11 NBA seasons. Nicknamed "The Original Bull" because he was selected in the 1966 Expansion Draft, Sloan was a two-time NBA All-Star (1967, 1969) known for his toughness and grit. He was the only player in NBA history to average 7-plus rebounds and 2-plus steals per game for his career.

Sloan recorded two triple-doubles in his career. A knee injury prematurely ended his career in 1976.

Story compiled with contributions from Rod Zundel and The Associated Press.


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