It's the human and fun side of our sports heroes

Former Jazz coach Layden wins life achievement award


Frank Layden, a long-time NBA coach and one of the league’s most colorful characters of the 1980s, received the Lifetime Achievement Award on Sunday from the National Basketball Coaches Association.

The jovial 87-year-old Brooklyn-born basketball devotee coached the Utah Jazz from 1981-1988 after a three-season stint as an Atlanta assistant and eight seasons at Niagara University.

In 1984, Layden won an unmatched sweep of the NBA Coach of the Year, NBA Executive of the Year and NBA Citizenship Awards.

“Frank Layden represents the very best in coaching,” said Dallas Mavericks coach and association president Rick Carlisle. “He built a perennial winner in Utah with the Jazz.”

The Jazz went 277-294 in Layden’s tenure as coach, which ended when he retired in 1989 to serve as president and general manager, but he set the groundwork that led Utah to the NBA Finals in the 1990s under the replacement coach he hired, Jerry Sloan.

“I am overwhelmed,” Layden said. “My colleagues were wonderful and the best part of my coaching experience. They were great coaches and even better men. I am honored to accept this award from their ranks.”