This is an archived article that was published on in 2011, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Three weeks into the Tyrone Corbin era, the Jazz's coach smiled and laughed before Saturday's game when I inquired whether he still liked the job.

"Ask me after a win," Corbin said.

Three hours later, I was wondering if that opportunity would ever come.

The Jazz eventually outlasted Sacramento in a 109-102 overtime victory at EnergySolutions Arena, giving Corbin his first win in five home games since replacing Jerry Sloan and "a sense of relief," he said.

This will continue to be a struggle for Corbin, who stands 2-7 overall, and his remade team. Saturday's outcome hardly made me back off my stance that the Jazz will miss the 2011 playoffs, making this a lost season.

The only redeeming value of what remains of the schedule is more experience for Corbin, whose team finally finished a tough game for him — if only after allowing a tying 3-pointer in the last 14 seconds of regulation.

I'm convinced Corbin's promotion to this position was critical to the perception of Utah. Look, I'll judge him as harshly as I would any coach of any color around here. That's my job. But if he succeeds, the state benefits.

The distinction of Corbin's becoming the first black head coach of the Jazz's Utah era has not been a major story for a variety of reasons, including the focus on Sloan's departure and the subsequent trade of Deron Williams.

Beyond that, there was a sense that Utah has moved past the point where such a development would seem revolutionary.

Jazz guard Ronnie Price marveled at how Corbin's replacement of Sloan was treated as "just a normal thing."

Yet Corbin's ascension to the most visible position in Utah sports is highly meaningful to many members of the black community — and to me. As a 40-year resident of Utah, I want outsiders to view the state as becoming more diverse and welcoming than they may believe.

The move dispels the perception that "it won't happen in a place like this," said the Rev. France A. Davis of Salt Lake City's Calvary Baptist Church.

Miami and the Los Angeles Lakers are the only NBA franchises never to have employed a black head coach, except on an interim basis. Elgin Baylor coached the New Orleans Jazz for almost three seasons and was fired in 1979, just before the team moved to Utah.

Among the top 20 or so coaching and administrative positions in Utah college and pro sports, few have been held by blacks. Rare examples include Larry Farmer as Weber State's basketball coach from 1985-88, before being fired with a 34-54 record, and Garry Templeton as the Salt Lake baseball manager in 2001, assigned by the parent Los Angeles Angels.

"Absolutely, it's progress," said former Jazz star Thurl Bailey on the day Corbin was hired. "We've got a legend going out, but we've got some significance going forward."

The development is "very positive, in every sense of the word," said Keith Embray, a sociologist and former University of Utah football player, noting that the Jazz are "synonymous with the state."

Corbin has spoken about his cultural impact only when asked, but he recognizes the breakthrough.

"It's an honor for me to be the guy," Corbin said. "I certainly want to make the most of this situation for this franchise, for myself, and do as good a job as I can. If it's carrying the torch for anybody else, then it's fine. But I have to deal with the job at hand … and see where that goes."

As of Saturday night, that was the right direction, incrementally.