Is Jerry Sloan Itching To Return?

HANG TIME, TEXAS – Some things are just natural. Painters paint, writers write, singers sing, coaches coach.

Jerry Sloan is a coach.

So how much longer will be it before the 69-year-old Hall of Famer and former fixture with the Jazz is back on an NBA sideline?

According to Sam Amick of SI.com, maybe sooner than you think.

“I think if the right situation came along, whatever that is,” he said before pausing to ponder. “I don’t know what the right situation is. We’ll have to wait and see, I guess.”

He’ll be waiting for the phone to ring again at his home in Utah, where he became the NBA’s third-most winningest coach of all time (1,221-803) before abruptly stepping down last February. After 23 seasons, the job became too taxing for the longest tenured coach in league history.

Back when he first walked away from the Jazz, Sloan wasn’t mentally and physically ready to jump right back in and set up camp on another sideline. But anyone who has ever spent time around him could hardly see Sloan permanently adopting the lifestyle of the gentleman farmer back on his spread in McLeansboro, Ill.

“Before, I was just visiting with people [from teams], but they knew that I wasn’t ready to coach … back in the summer,” said Sloan, who returned to his house in Utah in recent months. “I didn’t know if anybody was going to call [after that]. Maybe they won’t. I don’t know what my reaction would be. I had some people call when they’d lost their coaches. I was honest with them.”

But the honest truth has changed since then. And considering energy has played such a significant part in Sloan’s decision-making, he’s sounding as if a return could be in the cards.

“My energy level has changed a great deal since I quit coaching,” said Sloan, who is an avid walker. “It’s changed a lot now. I’ve had time to work out. I feel better.

“I had a chance to relax, to do something that I haven’t had the time to do in 30 years. That’s rewarding. You have time to spend with the family and have Thanksgiving and things like that. I enjoyed all of that. But [returning to coaching] is a decision where, if somebody talked to me, I’d review the situation like anybody else and take it from there.”

It’s downright shocking that the Kings didn’t at least feel him out when they let Paul Westphal go last week. But it certainly won’t the last opportunity to open up this season.

Despite assurances from the front office, how much longer can the winless Wizards stand behind Flip Saunders? And just for fun, how fast might Deron Williams’ head hit the ceiling if somebody told him the Nets were just thinking about hiring Sloan as an answer to their 2-8 start?

17 Comments

  1. James says:

    How can someone be the “most winningest coach of all time”?

  2. jullien says:

    jerry sloan is one of the greatest coach in the ligue. we need him back, wherever the team.
    come back jerry, we hope to see you soon as a coach…

  3. NBAer says:

    It would be very interesting if he’d coach for the Bobcats, with MJ as his boss :)

  4. charlestone says:

    Well, I really think Jerry´d do a great job wherever he goes. He is a legend and deserves to be coaching again but he should be aware of guys like Wall, Kemba, Jennings…I mean, they are good players, indeed but i´m afraid they aren´t the kind of player for Jerry. It´s a pity that it´s too late for Nash…though I believe in Rubio. Anyway, I wish the best to him.

  5. me says:

    It will be nice to see Jerry back in the NBA, particularly coaching in Utah. Wouldn”t be weird to see him with other team?

  6. js says:

    I think the twolves are still the best choice. they are a bunch of young players who dont have big heads yet and would be willing to completely buy in to sloan as a coach. They have the PG that you need to run sloan’s sytem AND the bigman in Love.

  7. FL says:

    jerry in Miami will make a difference

  8. Holly says:

    Corbin is doing an excellent job. I’ve been a Jazz fan my entire life and I always loved Sloan. But Corbin giving up the job is ridiculous. The Jazz are thriving with him. It was time for a change. Corbin has proven this year that he can do just as well as Sloan can. Actually better I would say, because he actually sits Miles out when he’s crap. But if Sloan were to return and coach for somebody else, great for him. I think he needed that time away. He was losing heart, and I think the Jazz suffered for it. I’m not saying we lost because of him per se, but the change was definitely good for us and for him. Now that he’s had that time, I think he could come back to another team and be that excellent coach that he always was before he needed that time away.

  9. Bonzizi says:

    He should come back. He needs a couple Coach of the Year awards.

  10. Dwight Howard says:

    come to the magic!

  11. prix is back says:

    jerry will come back probably just like Phil if he saw a championship potential team…put Rose, Durant and Dwight together and a good defensive bench and he will be there for sure…againts Miami in the finals, that would be epic…

    • Flame says:

      Sloan has not very high opinion of Divas like those you list…. remember Deron Willimas? He would probably prefer some easily coachable guys.

      • shakenbake says:

        who is deron willimas?

      • Sk1pJack says:

        I agree with the point you’re making, Sloan will not want to go back to a diva situation like he had with D-Will, but Rose is so far from being a diva its not even funny. He and Durant are two of a kind in this league – superstars with their feet firmly planted on the ground.

  12. Ryan says:

    Jerry Sloan is a great coach and any team would be lucky to have him. The one thing that people haven’t really talked about though is whether or not he could be coming back to Utah. He would probably be most willing to return to Utah if Tyrone Corbin is removed as head coach. I think Tyrone Corbin is doing a decent job could Jerry Sloan do better most likely. Would Jerry Sloan be willing to come back to Utah? That has a better chance of happening than any other team making them their head coach. He loves Utah obviously and now that Tyrone Corbin is losing control of the team it might just be a matter of time before he is fired. Could Jerry Sloan do a Phil Jackson with the Lakers and come back a season or two after retiring it remains to be seen.

    • Basketball Fan not a Player fan says:

      Tyrone Corbin losing control of the team? Have you watched the Jazz lately? They are winning, the team is playing better defense then they did all last year, even when Jerry was here. I’m not saying the Jazz couldn’t or wouldn’t bring back Jerry, I just think you read too many article by writers who try to “make a story” out of nothing……I have watched every Jazz game and attended 2 home games and have not seen any “loss of control”….

    • bballjunkie says:

      Miami needs him now. There will be no 3 pointers needed to win, because he will keep what’s working going. He just happened to have to go up against Phil, MJ, Pippen barring that coach Sloan is a winner. Wish he was coaching game 6 alone last year for Miami.