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Ex-Jazz assistant Johnson: No regrets about resigning

Published February 10, 2012 11:14 am
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Former Utah Jazz assistant Phil Johnson could have replaced Jerry Sloan as head coach.

He could have parlayed 23 years of loyalty to Sloan and the organization into a multi-year contract worth millions of dollars.

After Sloan resigned, Johnson simply needed to say he wanted the job.

Instead, he walked away.

"It was just time," Johnson said. "I have no regrets about it — none at all."

In the year since he left coaching, Johnson has endured the deaths of a brother and a sister.

"... But a lot of good things have happened, too," he said. "I've been able to do some things I've never done before."

Johnson rattles off some highlights: attending a reunion of his college team at Utah State, seeing games at the University of Utah and Weber State and taking ski lessons.

"I liked [skiing]," he said. "I nearly killed myself, but I liked it."

Although Sloan's resignation seemed shocking at the time, Johnson said, "... For me, it really wasn't a big surprise. I actually thought he might resign even earlier than he did because, obviously, we had talked back-and-forth."

Johnson has seen Sloan "a few times" since they resigned, most notably at their induction into the Utah Sports Hall of Fame and when they were jointly honored by the state legislature.

While Sloan has stayed away from the Jazz and EnergySolutions Arena, however, Johnson's job as a TV and radio analyst for the team has kept him in the public eye.

"It's a side of the business I haven't been involved in too much," he said. "... Honestly, I was a little surprised when they called and wanted me to do a couple of things for them. Hopefully, I don't trip over my words to much and it works out."




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