Tuesday, Sept. 2, 2014

Utah Jazz to interview 20-plus candidates for coaching vacancy — but not quite yet

By Jody Genessy, Deseret News

Published: Wed, April 23 10:45 p.m. MDT

 Jazz General Manager Dennis Lindsey speaks with media in the Energy Solutions Arena Monday, April 21, 2014 in Salt Lake City.

Jazz General Manager Dennis Lindsey speaks with media in the Energy Solutions Arena Monday, April 21, 2014 in Salt Lake City.

(Hugh Carey, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — Don’t expect a Utah Jazz coaching decision — or even interviews — to happen anytime soon.

For one thing, Jazz general manager Dennis Lindsey and assistant GM Justin Zanik are on a scouting trip in Europe through the end of next week.

For another, Jazz president Randy Rigby reiterated that the organization is just beginning the process of establishing requirements for Tyrone Corbin’s replacement.

“It will be an exhaustive search. We'll be expeditious, though,” Rigby said Wednesday during an interview on The Zone Sports Network. “But we'll be sensitive to taking the necessary time, so that we get it right and it will be the right selection for the Utah Jazz.”

Rigby said the Jazz front office won’t make exploratory phone calls until the coaching criteria, research and analysis have been completed ahead of a “very comprehensive” search.

After that’s set in place, the Jazz anticipate interviewing what Rigby described as “much more than 20” candidates — from “iconic players” to guys with NBA head coaching experience, assistants, and coaches from international leagues and the college ranks. Former University of Utah coach Jim Boylen and Italian coach Ettore Messina are two of the more popular names circulating right now, but Rigby said the organization isn't to the point where it's even identified potential targets.

The man who ends up with the job will be the team’s fifth head coach since moving to Utah in 1979.

"We don't take these things lightly. This was more often than we wanted to and we would've hoped,” Rigby said. “We want to do things and do it right and have it last for a long time for this organization and that individual. We're going to take the necessary time.”

Rigby re-emphasized a point that Lindsey made after the team announced it won’t renew Corbin’s contract after three-plus years and a 25-57 season — the new hire will be made as part of a group effort, including the Miller ownership group and the front office. He said the more opinions and voices, the better.

"I hear many people say, 'This is Dennis Lindsey's decision.' No, it's not,” Rigby said. “Dennis is going to be a key player in this decision and is going to help formulate our strategy. But he is very inclusive of our team, and it's worked very well for us in the past to make sure that everyone has a vote and a say and we're all of one mind when we come out of the room.”

Also, Rigby said the Jazz have reached out to player development coaches Alex Jensen and Johnnie Bryant about remaining with the team going forward. Utah will begin working out draft hopefuls and free agents, and they’d help run those tryout sessions until the coaching search concludes.

EMAIL: jody@desnews.com


1. panamadesnews
Lindon, UT,
April 23, 2014

I would think it would be advantageous to have a coach in place before the draft and free agency begins. Guys will not want to go to a team where the selection of a coach is up in the air. The Jazz management better get right on it. I know they have to be careful, but I think they ought to make their list of potential candidates and then whittle it down to under 10 and then do the interviews. It would be disingenuous to interview over 20 candidates. Hopefully they will keep it fairly simple.

2. rvalens2
Burley, ID,
April 24, 2014

"Rigby said the Jazz have reached out to player development coaches Alex Jensen and Johnnie Bryant about remaining with the team going forward."

That's great news. Alex and Johnnie have been the two bright spots on the Jazz bench. If there is any way to retain them both, the Jazz should do it.

3. ultragrampa
Farmington, UT,
April 24, 2014

Take your time boys; let it simmer a month or two.

Sheesh - it isn't like you can't have known for months now that you were going to have to do this; that you were not going to renew Ty's contract. How can you only now be thinking about beginning the process of determining how to narrow down potential candidates????

Stew on it, have a few discussions on your current scouting trip for more players. Take your time, think it through, come on back and get going on interviewing the rest after the pick of the litter have been signed by the other, more forward-looking NBA teams who needed a coach.

I moved recently. But I didn't give notice to my old place before I knew where I was going.

4. WACPaddingOurSchedule
pocatello, ID,
April 24, 2014

What? Apparently the front office needs to interview itself. There is no need to interview 20 candidates. Could be wrong, but I don't recall hearing any pro sports team interview that many for one coaching spot.

The front office should act like a front office. Do in house research on candidates, and narrow down the interview list to five or so.

Yes, have someone in place before the draft. Give the coach a chance to evaluate and provide input on potential Jazz players.

5. Jazz Source
Alpine, UT,
April 24, 2014


Good post. You hit the nail on the head. I really can't think they are as unprepared for this as they appear to be letting on. Lets not forget Lindsey did not extend Corbins contract at the beginning of this season.

Lindsey really had a pretty good idea back then that he likely would not extend and then as the season progressed it became pretty clear, when the team was statistically ranked dead last in the entire league defensively, after they had told Ty that defense was what this season was about that a change was coming.

I'm guessing that some of this is window-dressing/PR to make it look like a determination on Ty was not a foregone conclusion.

If they truly are as unprepared as they are "selling" then shame on them. Other teams will be picking/interviewing the best candidates ASAP thus diminishing the Jazz list of options.

Seriously, do you not already know the criteria you want in a coach? I mean you had Sloan and you picked Corbin. Can the criteria be all that difficult to ascertain?

Boylen is an immediate fail from a PR standpoint....courtesy interview I bet.