Sloan wins Sporting News coach of the year award

SALT LAKE CITY-Utah’s Jerry Sloan was named Tuesday as the Sporting News coach of the year after guiding the Jazz to a 42-40 finish in what was expected to be a rebuilding season.

Sloan, runner-up in the NBA coach of the year balloting to Memphis’ Hubie Brown, received 12 1/2 of the 24 votes cast by fellow NBA coaches. Brown was second at 9 1/2 votes, followed by Denver’s Jeff Bzdelik and Stan Van Gundy of Miami with one vote each.

“It is certainly appropriate that he be honored by his peers in this manner,” Jazz owner Larry H. Miller said. “Coach Sloan has the ability to take all levels of talent and experience and make a difference on the court.”

The Jazz missed the playoffs, ending a 20-year streak, but were in the race until the final week despite losing John Stockton to retirement last summer and Karl Malone’s decision to leave as a free agent.

The Sporting News’ NBA awards will be announced in the St. Louis-based magazine’s May 24 issue.

Minnesota’s Kevin Garnett was named player of the year and Cleveland Cavaliers guard LeBron James was named rookie of the year.

The Associated Press