Former Utah Jazz coach Jerry Sloan on Saturday denied an assertion from his former player and fellow Hall of Famer Karl Malone that Sloan was forced out last year as Utah’s head coach by the Miller family, the primary owners of the team.
“I would like to set the record straight regarding my retirement from the Utah Jazz,” Sloan said in a statement released Saturday. “I had the unwavering support of the Miller family during my 23 seasons as head coach and I left on my own volition. It is not true that the Millers undermined my authority as head coach. I had their complete backing to run the team as I wished and was assured that no player could ever overrule my decisions.
“The Millers encouraged me to stay with the team and gave me multiple opportunities to do so. They felt strongly that I should wait at least until the end of the season to resign and did everything they could to keep me coaching.
Malone had told the Salt Lake Tribune last week that he thought Jazz owner Greg Miller and general manager Kevin O’Connor had undermined Sloan’s authority with the team up to the point when he resigned last February. At the time, Sloan denied that the reason he left was a rift with star guard Deron Williams, who was subsequently traded to the Nets.
“On the whole handling of that, I would have to give [them] a D or F, and I would lean more toward an F,” Malone told the paper.
Sloan said he did not want to make any further statements regarding the details of his departure from the Jazz.
“It is time for me and my family to move on and I ask that the media respect my wishes and respect the integrity of the Miller family and all that they have done for the Utah Jazz and this community,” he said in the statement.