Jerry Sloan

March 28, 1942 ~ May 22, 2020

On Friday, May 22, 2020, former Chicago Bull and Utah Jazz head coach Jerry Sloan passed away from complications due to Parkinson’s Disease and Lewy Body Dementia. He left this earth peacefully at his Salt Lake City home, surrounded by his family.

Born Gerald Eugene Sloan on March 28, 1942, to Janie (Rogers) and Charles Ralph Sloan, he grew up in McLeansboro, Illinois, located in rural southern Illinois. He attended McLeansboro High School, where he met his high school sweetheart, Bobbye Irvin, who he married in April of 1963, and had three children, Kathy, Brian and Holly. The two remained married until her passing in 2004. He graduated from the University of Evansville where he was a member of the 1964 and 1965 NCAA Division II National Basketball Championship team. He was later drafted by The Baltimore Bullets of the National Basketball Association, where he played his rookie season, until he was drafted by the Chicago Bulls in the 1966 expansion draft and remained a member of the team until 1976.

In 1978 Jerry became an assistant coach for the Chicago Bulls, and became head coach in 1979 until 1982. After relocating to his hometown of McLeansboro, he became an assistant with the Utah Jazz in 1984, only to become head coach of the team in December of 1988. After holding one of the longest coaching tenures in professional sports and becoming a member of the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in 2009, he retired from basketball in 2011.

Aside from his accomplishments in basketball, Jerry was also a well-known antique enthusiast. He developed a love for collecting anything from cash registers to John Deere tractors. When people say, ”One man’s trash is another man’s treasure,” that man was Jerry. He loved spending his off season working on his farm and reconnecting each summer with the people of Hamilton County and southern Illinois. In 2005 he met Tammy Jessop and the two were married in 2006. As an avid walker, he took daily walks around Dolan’s Lake while in McLeansboro, and while in Salt Lake City, he walked many miles along the Jordan River with their beloved dog Max. Jerry was a generous man who never forgot where he came from and donated time and resources to many charitable organizations and individuals in need.

Known for his incredible intensity and work ethic, Jerry put 100% effort into everything he did. In return, countless others were inspired to do the same. He always believed that no matter who you were or where you came from, you could succeed in anything with a little “elbow grease” and determination. To him, a day working hard was a day hardly wasted. He played his game of basketball like he lived his life, and he lived his life like his favorite quote from Grantland Rice: “For when the one great scorer comes to write against your name, he writes not that you won or lost, but how you played your game.”

Jerry is survived by his wife Tammy, his children Kathy (Todd) Wood, Brian (Leslie) Sloan, Holly (Tim) Parrish, stepson Rhett Jessop, and sister Hattie Sloan. He also leaves behind seven grandchildren, and many nieces and nephews, who he loved dearly. He was preceded in death by his first wife Bobbye, brothers John, Dwight, Jimmy, Charles Ralph (Buck), Roger, and sisters June, Shirley, and Geneva.

A private celebration of his life will be determined at a later date. Donations can be made to the Michael J. Fox Foundation in Jerry Sloan’s name.


You touched so many lives, mine included .... Rest In Peace Coach! You and Van Lier made a heck of a duo in Chicago, and I smile with the thought of you both being reunited in Heaven! God has a heck of a backcourt now!

- Jerry Bartos
I know I never knew you personally but I knew of you from coaching the jazz , I was @ the 1996, 1997 and 1998 Finals, I loved watching how Intense you were on the floor and I knew of how nice you were. Last year I was at the game with my stepdad , You and him were walking side by side. RIP Coach Sloan. 1942 - 2020

- Adrian Avila
My sincerest heart felt wishes to the Sloan family. The standard bearer for a good man has passed. Jerry was a perfect example who never let success go to his head. I had the privilege of working at the Mcleansboro paper when Brian and Holly played ball and got to know Jerry pretty well. He was always that country boy who never forgot where he came from. We in Mactown have all lost a good friend. Our best wishes to you all.

- Don hill
Have known Jerry and his family for many years, they were all such good people . Will always remember him as a friend and a very good coach from McLeansboro.

- Virginia Launius Durham
Jerry was a wonderful person and loved by all and will never be forgotten, my thoughts are with Tammy and the Sloan family and a great friend he was.

- Lovella Craddock
I'm so sorry to hear of his passing and am sending condolences to his family. He was an amazing man that will be missed by many.

- Briana Claxton
We are all deeply saddened by the passing of your father. Thank you for sharing him with all of us in McLeansboro. We will forever treasure the memories!❤️

- Angella Gauch
My deepest condolences goes to my friend Holly and the rest of the Sloan family. He was a wonderful man who impacted so many lives and will be remembered forever.

- Tina Thompson
So very sorry to hear about your father. You are in my thoughts and prayers.

- Linda Willding
My deep condolences to Jerry’s family, and especially my friend Holly. Her love and admiration for her father was always so evident, and we all admire him for his legendary achievements in basketball and coaching. A life well-lived, a man well-loved. ❤️

- Donna Abear
So sorry to hear about the passing of Coach Sloan. He was a respected man in McLeansboro, both as a basketball player, coach, and a citizen of the community. I remember some years ago when there was an auction there in town, he was there and graciously gave me his autograph. My condolences go out to his family.

- Jerry Givan
McLeansboro, Illinois has loved Jerry Sloan for many years. Always had time to stop and talk to every one! A great man, he will be remembered forever!

- Dr. Don and Judy Mitchell
So many fond memories and deepest appreciation for life lessons in the Sloan household. My heart hurts with this loss.

- Kerri Tharp
So many fond memories and deepest appreciation for life lessons in the Sloan household. My heart hurts with this loss.

- Kerri Tharp
Many Prayers and Condolences for the Family of Jerry 🙏What A Wonderful /Caring man that will truly be missed. The memories created will live on forever.

I’m so sorry to learn of the passing of this good man. We are thankful for all the precious memories we have.

- Karol Brown
Sending our deepest condolences and lots of love to the family. Our hearts go out to you and we share in your sorrow. John, Bridget, Kylie, and Brian Kratt

- Bridget Kratt
Our most sincere condolences

- Paco Fernandez