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News » Sloan will likely return for 2009-10 season

Sloan will likely return for 2009-10 season

Sloan will likely return for 2009-10 season
By the end of the week, Jerry Sloan will likely have a new right knee, thanks to replacement surgery.

Assuming all goes well, Sloan sounds like he plans to return for his 22nd season as head coach of the Jazz.

"The surgery won't have anything to do with" his decision, Sloan said, "... unless something happens and I have to have it taken off. Then I probably wouldn't be able to coach, if I had just one leg."

In the aftermath of a season that did not live up to expectations, there has been speculation that Sloan might retire or the Jazz could re-think the policy of Larry H. Miller, the team's late owner who declared 10 years ago that Sloan will be allowed to decide when he walks away.

"It's still his decision," team president Randy Rigby said Tuesday. "Jerry's style and philosophy hasn't changed, nor has ours. His passion to win continues to burn. ... I have the utmost confidence in Jerry, now and in the future."

Sloan called the Jazz's injury-plagued 48-win season "one of the most difficult I've ever faced. ... But I think I fought through it about as well as I could."

Along with Miller's death in February, Sloan's older brother, Buck, died earlier this month. Two ex-teammates with the Chicago Bulls -- Johnny Kerr and Norm Van Lier -- also died last winter.

"That's why I was proud of these guys," Sloan said, referring to his players. "In a lot of ways, they helped make it better by trying to win games."

Sloan finished the season with 1,137 coaching wins -- fourth on the all-time list, and only 58 behind Pat Riley. He has won an NBA-record 1,043 games with the Jazz.

Sloan, who will be 68 before the end of the 2009-10 season, says good health will be the biggest factor in his ultimate decision about returning for another year of coaching.

"... You have to take that into consideration, especially at my age," he said.

Jazz players support the idea of Sloan's return.

"Absolutely," said Jarron Collins. "To a man, we all have so much respect for coach Sloan. I've heard the talk and all that other stuff. But I don't buy into it at all. Coach Sloan is a tremendous coach -- a Hall of Fame coach. ... It's truly been a pleasure to have played for him and to learn from him -- not only on the court but off the court, too."

Said Deron Williams: "It's coach Sloan. He's never going to quit on something. He loves to coach. That's what he loves to do. He's a Hall of Fame coach -- one of the best to ever do it."

Tribune reporter Ross Siler contributed to this story.

Author: Fox Sports
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Added: April 30, 2009


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