The legendary coach Frank Layden always knew when it was time to pass the torch.
After beating the Washington Bullets on Dec. 7, 1988, Layden stepped down as head coach of the Utah Jazz, telling everyone it was time for Jerry Sloan to take the team to the next level.
That final victory was Layden’s 277th regular-season win as coach of the Jazz. Sloan, of course, would go on to win 1,223 total games as coach of the Jazz, and Layden’s record would stand as the franchise’s second-winningest coach for years to come.
With a win over Cleveland on Tuesday night, another torch was passed: Utah Jazz head coach Quin Snyder has moved up to No. 2 in the franchise’s history.
Snyder was hired by the Jazz in June 2014. Since that time, he has led the team to 278 victories, and playoff berths each of the last four seasons.
It took Layden 571 games over eight seasons as head coach to tally 277 wins, as the affable coach slowly rebuilt a struggling franchise into a perennial winner. Snyder reached 278 wins in 493 games (a .564 win percentage).
Layden was named the NBA’s Coach of the Year in 1984. Last year, the 89-year-old received the Chuck Daly Lifetime Achievement Award. The No. 1 jersey has been retired by the Jazz and hangs in the rafters at Vivint Arena in Layden’s honor.