As Jerry Sloan formally announced his resignation at a press conference Thursday, the Utah Jazz named Tyrone Corbin the team's new coach. Corbin is in his seventh season with the Jazz, having previously played in the NBA for 15 years (including a stint in Utah).
Sloan's longtime top assistant Phil Johnson resigned, as well, leaving Corbin, who has been considered a top coaching prospect and interviewed with the New Orleans Hornets last summer, to ascend to the top spot. But Corbin's promotion came amid about the most surreal retirement announcement since Magic Johnson. Corbin, sharing the stage with Sloan, Johnson, Jazz GM Kevin O'Connor and Jazz owner Greg Miller (among others), looked like he wanted to disappear.
"For me, this is a bittersweet moment," Corbin said in his introductory remarks. "I had no idea going into shootaround yesterday that the game last night and coming in this morning, that coach and Phil wouldn't be with us in the morinng for shootaround. While it's a great moment for me, it's a bitter moment for me because I will miss these guys. A lot.
"Right now, I don't feel as great as it's going to be, I guess."
Questions about why Sloan decided to step down hovered over the press conference. Sloan took over the team in 1988, and has one losing season in his Jazz career. There have been suggestions spats between the coach and Utah's star guard Deron Williams led to Sloan's exit. Corbin is said to have a strong relationship with Williams and other Jazz players.
But he didn't want to talk about any of it, not with a legend saying his goodbyes two seats over.
"I look forward to the opportunity, but right now, I don't think this should be about me," Corbin said.