Utah leaders react to passing of Jerry Sloan

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PHOENIX – OCTOBER 12: Head coach Jerry Sloan of the Utah Jazz talks with his team during the preseason NBA game against the Phoenix Suns at US Airways Center on October 12, 2010 in Phoenix, Arizona. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting […]

The Utah Jazz community is mourning the passing of former Hall of Fame coach Jerry Sloan. Sloan spent 23 seasons as the head coach of the Jazz (1988-2011). He guided the Jazz to 16 consecutive winning seasons and thirteen 50-win seasons.

Utah Jazz fans, community members, and leaders are taking the time to honor him.

President J. Stuart Adams (Utah State Senate)

“Today Utah lost a basketball legend Jerry Sloan, who was one of the most respected and most distinguished coaches in NBA history. Like most Utahns, basketball players and fans, I mourn the loss of our “coach.” My prayers and heartfelt condolences go out to his personal family as well as his basketball family.”

Lt. Spencer Cox

“I didn’t expect to cry today. Jerry wouldn’t like that. I’m heartbroken. Much will be written and said about him, but this is all you need to know. They say you should never meet your heros…but over the past few years I did. And he was everything I hoped he would be.”

Former Senator Orrin Hatch

“Jerry Sloan will always have a special place in NBA history—and in the hearts of all Utahns. He was a dynamic leader who transformed the Utah Jazz from a small franchise team to a perennial powerhouse,” said Hatch. “His contributions to our state and to the game of basketball will long live on. May God bless Jerry Sloan and all members of the Jazz family.”

Governor Gary Herbert

“Jerry Sloan was a fierce competitor and disciplinarian – and he was the heart and soul of the Utah Jazz for years. His emphasis on defense and team play got the most out of the players’ raw talent. He was “old school” and will be greatly missed. Our prayers are with Jerry Sloan’s family and friends as they mourn his passing.”

Jeanetta Williams, President of the NAACP Salt Lake Branch

“We all knew Coach Sloan as an individual that loved the game of basketball when he played and as a coach. He believed in his players and did not mind showing it on the floor. He defended and stood up for his players on the basketball floor. If the opposing team was roughing up the Jazz players, Coach Sloan had no problem charging after them. The players knew that Coach Sloan believed in them. He was a man of character and integrity. A man that dedicated his life to the game and was proud to coach in the house that Larry built. We are honored to have known Jerry and will always remember his tenacity.”

This is a developing story. Updates will be posted as more reactions come into the newsroom.

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