Saturday, February 12, 2011

Jerry Sloan -- a fond farewell

I haven't had time to write the post I planned to be next. I'm teaching Calculus for the first time, and I am putting a huge amount of effort into it, compared to previous classes I have taught. It's one of those situations where I'm not sure I can measure up to what the class needs. Still, if they let me, I'll be teaching it again. Mental growth comes from mental struggles.

However, I heard yesterday that Jerry Sloan resigned. From what I can tell, he just doesn’t have the energy it takes to constantly herd young players into trusting in his system anymore, and that's not really anyone's fault. I first started rooting for the Jazz in the mid 90s, so it's been quite a time. I'll briefly ramble on about it below the fold. Next post, I'll get back to the topic of the difference between deductive and inductive reasoning.

Sloan has always had arguments with players, some much more publically, and just as prominent within the franchise, as Williams. Karl Malone certainly comes to mind, although their disagreements were not as well-documented as those with Ostertag. Sloan seems to have always relied on personal drive, energy, and force of will to keep players playing the system. For better or worse, these things fade as you get older.

Great players tend to have big personalities, and Williams is no exception. You can't expect a man like that, at that age, to just take direction. There will be battles of wills, unless the coach has no authority at all, or just lets the players do whatever they want. Ten years ago, Sloan probably would have been more than up for those battles. In that time, he's been widowed, remarried, and has a knee replaced. Rather than just hang on (ala Don Nelson), Sloan has decided that if he can't be the coach he wants to be, he'd rather not coach at all. I respect that.

I will miss Sloan. I'm going to keep watching, though. I was watching last night, when Kirilenko showed just how good he was by getting injured. I don't know if the Millers will let Corbin coach for 20 years, but it wouldn't surprise me. I'm curious to see if Corbin takes up Karl Malone on his offer to be an assistant coach (I'm sure he'd have a thing or two to show Jefferson). I'm still a Jazz fan, just a sadder one, at least for this season.

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