*Post written by James Wethington, library assistant of the University Archives and Special Collections.
Our next entry in our series, “You Know My Name”, we focus on a basketball coaching legend, Jerry Sloan. Considered one of the best coaches in NBA history, Sloan has humbling beginnings starting in Evansville.
Born on March 28, 1942 in McLeansboro, Illinois (Logan, 2016). Sloan grew up playing basketball for McLeansboro High School and gained the moniker, “The Fabulous Fox”: during his senior year, he scored 710 points out of over 1,800 points he scored during his career (Cole, 1961). Originally, he selected the University of Illinois-Champaign; however, he dropped out and shortly attended Southern Illinois University and decided to play at Evansville College (“It’s pays to play”, 1961).
During his tenure with Evansville College, he won numerous collegiate awards and one tournament record such as (University of Evansville, 2017; National Basketball Association, 2017):
- Division II Men’s Basketball Champion (1964, 1965)
- College Division All-America Teams (1963-1965)
- 1965 Chuck Taylor Converse 1st Team All-America; Sporting News 2nd Team
- NCAA Division II Elite Eight All-Tournament Team (1964-1965)
- Division II Tournament Most Outstanding Player (1964-1965)
- Rebounds in a Division II Championship Game (25)
- One of six players to have his jersey number retired (#52)
After graduating from Evansville College in 1965, drafted the Baltimore Bullets as the nineteen overall pick, Sloan was only in Washington for one season. In 1966, an expansion draft was held for the newly created Chicago Bulls: he was drafted to the Bulls and stayed with the team until his retirement in 1976. During his playing career, he received several awards such as (National Basketball Association, 2017):
- All-Defense First Team Selection (1968-1969, 1971-1972)
- Nicknamed “The Original Bull
- Team Record:
- First Chicago Bulls player to have his number retired (#4), 1978
After retiring from competition in 1976 due to a knee injury, he chose another path in the NBA: he served as a scout (1976-1977), assistant head coach (1977-1979), and head coach (1979-1982) for the Chicago Bulls (National Basketball Association, 2017). He finally received a second head coach position with the Utah Jazz from 1988 until his resignation in 2011. As head coach, the Jazz won six division titles, made the playoffs seventeen times (1989-2003, 2007), and made it to the NBA Finals twice (1997-1998) but lost both times to the Chicago Bulls (Logan, 2016; National Basketball Association, 2017). During his tenure with the Utah Jazz, he received set numerous NBA records (National Basketball Association, 2017):
- Fifth head coach with 1,000 wins
- Winningest coach in Utah Jazz history (941-568)
- Most wins with one NBA franchise
- Second NBA coach to have 10 straight winning seasons with one team
- One of three coaches to win 50 games over 10 different seasons
On the University Archives and Special Collections’ online digital gallery, there are over six hundred photographs over basketball in the Tri-State and in various communal societies. Located in the Gregory Smith, Sonny Brown, John Doane, Thomas Mueller, and others photographs collections relating to basketball.
Cole, E. (1961, February 5). Fabulous Sloan to Evansville. Evansville Courier and Press, pp. 1C. Retrieved from http://infoweb.newsbank.com/resources/doc/nb/image/page/v2:1425EEA2CB57B634@EANX-NB-14CFADA4570FD1BA@2437336-14C5D1C4F82D65F1@38?p=WORLDNEWS
University of Evansville (2017). Hall of Fame. Retrieved from http://aceshof.com/person/289/
It’s pays to play (1961, January 22). Evansville Courier and Press, pp. 5C. Retrieved from http://infoweb.newsbank.com/resources/doc/nb/image/v2:1425EEA2CB57B634@EANX-NB-14C5D19749A3B5A1@2437322-14C5CF7F9BBF0E79@32-14C5CF7F9BBF0E79@?p=WORLDNEWS
Logan, R. G. (2016, May 24). Jerry Sloan. Retrieved from https://www.britannica.com/biography/Jerry-Sloan
National Basketball Association. (2017). Jerry Sloan. Retrieved from http://www.nba.com/coachfile/jerry_sloan/