SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Former longtime Utah Jazz head coach Jerry Sloan is returning to the team as a consultant.
The Hall of Fame coach will be a senior basketball adviser on a multi-year deal, the team announced Wednesday. Sloan will provide guidance to head coach Ty Corbin as well as serve as an extra set of eyes as the team evaluates potential players.
It’s the second time in a month that the team has looked to its storied past in a bid to improve its future. Three weeks ago, the Jazz announced Hall of Famer Karl Malone would help develop and mentor the team’s two young big men in a part-time role.
Sloan said he’s happy to be back with the organization, and will do whatever he’s asked. He talked first with Corbin before making his decision.
“Being in basketball has kind of saved my life,” Sloan said on 1280 The Zone radio network. “You feel like you want to jump off a tall building after being away from it for a couple of years.”
Jazz President Randy Rigby said Sloan will become a key player in the organization’s efforts to build a championship team. He’s already been helping them evaluate players ahead of next week’s NBA draft, Rigby said.
Sloan said he benefited early in his coaching career by having Frank Layden as a sounding board, and hopes to fill that same role for Corbin.
“I don’t have all the answers, but when I was a young coach, I needed a lot of guidance,” Sloan said. “Ty has asked me to come and help him along those lines. I’m not sure I can, but I’m willing to try.”
Sloan coached the Jazz for 23 full seasons — leading the team to the playoffs 19 times and to the NBA Finals twice.
He resigned in February 2011 in the middle of a season in which he clashed with star point guard Deron Williams.
He said at the time that he didn’t have the energy to coach any more, and that the losses were getting tougher and tougher to handle.