(WEHT) — The basketball world lost a legend Friday.
Former Jazz head coach and Aces Hall of Famer Jerry Sloan died at the age of 78 following his battle with Parkinson’s Disease and dementia. He leaves a lasting legacy in the NBA and of course with the UE basketball program.
“When I heard, I was very sad,” Larry Humes, Sloan’s former UE teammate, said.
Sloan had an impressive resume- winning a pair of national titles in the 1960’s with Evansville
then playing in the NBA. He coached the Utah Jazz for 23 years then led them to back to back
appearances in the NBA Finals.
“First off, he was just a winner, on the court and off the court. On the court, he was never the leading scorer, on any of his teams, but he was always considered one of the best players. Jerry was a guy who did a lot for the program, he did a lot for the community where it was here on McLeansboro or Salt Lake City. He was the guy that never wanted credit for it,” Scott Shreffler, former Aces guard, said.
“First off Jerry was a leader, he was a hard worker. and a very good basketball player. His strongest thing was his defense and rebounding, Jerry was a very good basketball player,” Humes said.
For as accomplished as Sloan was, he may be remembered most for what he did off the hardwood.
“He really took me under his wing and he didn’t have to. We had mutual respect for each other, the more I got to know him, I got to see the things he did for people off the court and didn’t want any praise for it and that’s what I remember about Jerry,” Shreffler said.
The basketball world will remember this Hall of Famer’s life.
“People will remember Jerry in Evansville for a long long time,” Humes said.