The Utah Jazz announced today that the team has extended the contract of head coach Jerry Sloan for two years. Sloan had one year remaining on his current contract. In keeping with club policy, details of the pact were not announced.
Jazz owner Larry H. Miller said he was concerned with recurring rumors that the Jazz might fire Sloan."If we back up and take a look at the coaching organization in total with the Utah Jazz, we can not imagine a better team of coaches than we have here. So to make that very clear, we decided to make a stronger statement than we had. After talking to Jerry, and with his permission, we would like to extend his current contract," said Miller.
"We began to be concerned about this time last year when some broadcast reports talked about the possibility of Jerry Sloan's job being on the line, but we decided to handle that by just reassuring Jerry that the thought had never crossed our minds," said Miller.
"But this year, those same kind of reports began to come out again and we thought this year we wanted to deal with it."
Concerning rumors that he would be fired if the Jazz failed to get past the first round of the NBA playoffs, Sloan said: "I don't think anyone puts more pressure on myself than I do," he said "Outside pressures are things you can't deal with so there's no need to get upset about them."
Sloan's assistants were informed of the decision earlier this week and members of the Utah Jazz team were given the news just prior to this morning's news conference at the Jazz 100 Club in the Salt Palace.
Miller lauded Sloan's leadership, citing his "impeccable work ethic, his stability as a head coach, consistency in handling the players, knowledge of the game (and) the example he sets" as key factors in the decision.
"I also want to highlight how important it is to us that our players respect Jerry so much. I know they have a high professional regard for him and they really like him as a person.
"We can't imagine ourselves in a situation where we have a coach who we would like better. We want Jerry to be with us for a long time. This announcement is a reflection of our respect and support for Jerry Sloan and for his staff."
Sloan is completing his third season as head coach of the Jazz. He took over for Frank Layden in December 1988. Since that time, he has compiled a 148-79 record (.650), the best winning percentage by a head coach in franchise history. Sloan has led the Jazz to one Midwest Division Championship (1988-89) and to a second-place finish last year, just one game out of first place. He is also the only head coach to have led the Jazz to more than 50 wins in a season, doing so all three years as head coach. His teams have set records for most wins , most road wins and most victories at home.