Jerry Sloan Quit as Utah Jazz Head Coach After an Argument With Deron Williams

Utah Jazz CEO Greg Miller opens up about Jerry Sloan infamously quitting as the Utah Jazz head coach while feuding with former Jazz star point guard Deron Williams back in 2011. (Sloan is back with the franchise, and D-Will was traded to the Nets two weeks after a fateful mid-game blowup with his coach.) Per the Deseret News: “The beginning of the end for Sloan and his 23-year tenure as the Jazz’s head coach, Miller explained, began with the last play of the first half in Utah’s home game against the Chicago Bulls on Feb. 9, 2011. And, yes, it revolved around an increasingly contemptuous relationship All-Star point guard Deron Williams had with the Hall of Fame coach. ‘The last play of the half,’ Miller said, ‘Deron got after Gordon Hayward, the play broke down and we went into the locker room.’ During that fateful halftime break, Sloan ‘reprimanded Deron’ for freelancing. According to Miller, who usually accompanies the team into the locker room, the Jazz coach told his star player something to the effect of, ‘Hey, if you’re going to change the play, it would be nice if you’d let the rest of the team know so we have a chance to score.’ Williams’ response: ‘My bad.’ Much to Miller’s chagrin, the contentious moment, however, continued after that exchange. ‘If (Williams) would’ve left it right there, Jerry might have never left,’ Miller said. Instead, Williams allegedly continued to pop off. Jazz center Al Jefferson even reached over and tried to ease tensions by telling his teammate, ‘C’mon now.’ Sloan had had enough. ‘Jerry said at that point, ‘I don’t have anything else,’ Miller said. Instead of turning the time over to his assistants, Sloan headed to his office around the corner from the players lockers. As he passed Miller, the then-68-year-old coach told the Jazz CEO, ‘I’d like to have a word with you after the game.’ … ‘Deron was right behind us and he said, ‘Yeah, I want to be in the meeting too,’ Miller related. ‘Jerry said, ‘Do you want me to just quit right now?’ That shocked Miller and, no doubt, everybody who heard him drop the foreshadowing bombshell. After team members went their separate ways during halftime, Miller approached Sloan and pledged his support. […] Miller tried to convince Sloan to ‘muscle through’ the rough times — but to no avail. ‘He said, ‘You know, Greg, I’m going to be 70 years old. … I’ve been at this a long time and there’s nothing left in the tank. I think I’m done.’ Miller responded, ‘Jerry, c’mon. I understand … ‘ Sloan cut him off. ‘I’m serious. I’m out of gas.’ Miller tried to convince him to coach the rest of the season — or at least through the upcoming All-Star break. ‘You’re not hearing me,’ Sloan told Miller. ‘I’m out of gas.’ Miller eventually got Sloan to agree to contemplate his decision overnight after telling him that the Jazz would have a ‘PR nightmare’ to deal with if he quit midseason. ‘We are going to have a very, very difficult time managing (that). It’s not going to reflect well on the franchise,’ Miller told Sloan. ‘That stopped him in his tracks.’ Miller was hopeful Sloan would reconsider his decision after sleeping on it and talking through things the following morning. The Jazz set a meeting for 11 a.m. But news broke before that even began. Sloan’s tank was on ‘E.'”