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Two months after Sidney Lowe resigned from his dream job at his alma mater, North Carolina State, he picked up the phone. Lowe dialed a former player a friend he trusted, a man he respected.
Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin answered.
Lowe wanted to know what was going on with Utah's unfilled assistant coaching position a job that previously belonged to longtime assistant Phil Johnson, and was vacated Feb. 10 when legendary head coach Jerry Sloan suddenly resigned.
Not much, Corbin said. Let me get back to you.
Soon after, Corbin flew to North Carolina to meet with Lowe. Then Corbin and Jazz general manager Kevin O'Connor retraced the trip, giving the 51-year-old Lowe a hard lookover. Background checks followed. As did conversations with numerous NBA personnel, all of whom vouched for Lowe's track record, experience and knowledge.
Corbin knew it all along. He'd played alongside and was coached by Lowe in Minnesota, from 1989-92. He saw Lowe, then an assistant, in action watched how he alternately prodded players when they needed to be pushed and coddled them when a soft, friendly voice was required.
More than four months after Lowe picked up the phone in May and blindly reached out, an offer from Corbin for the Jazz's open assistant job came back through the line. Lowe didn't blink. Return to the NBA with a clean slate? Join a longtime friend and face the challenge of turning a rebuilding small-market team into a major contender? Become the first coaching hire of the Ty Corbin regime?
Where do I sign?
"There was no hesitation at all. There were too many positives," said Lowe, who was introduced to the media Thursday during a news conference at the team practice facility.
Longtime Jazz assistant Scott Layden said Lowe's positives come down to three attributes: hardworking, loyal, no-maintenance.
O'Connor said Lowe immediately adds legitimacy that can't be bought or traded for.
Fellow Utah assistant Jeff Hornacek said Lowe's lifelong bond with Corbin made the move a no-brainer.
Corbin? He got exactly what he wanted.
There initially won't be a lead assistant on Corbin's staff. Instead, there'll be opinions, voices and ideas. The Jazz will start from scratch whenever the NBA lockout ends and the 2011-12 season finally begins. Corbin thinks he stole Lowe while the league was sleeping.
"He has a great feel for where people are," Corbin said. "And with players that's huge, because you've got to be able to reach different guys at different times in different places to get them to … work how you need to get better."
The Jazz need to get better. Corbin is counting on Lowe to help.
Sidney Lowe file
Position • Jazz assistant coach
Age • 51
Previous job • North Carolina State head coach
Coaching career • Minnesota, Cleveland, Vancouver/Memphis, Minnesota, Detroit
Playing days • Indiana, Detroit, Atlanta, Charlotte, Minnesota
College • North Carolina State
Big T • Lowe is longtime friends with ex-Jazzman and current Utah broadcaster Thurl Bailey. The duo played on the Wolfpack's 1983 team, which won the NCAA men's championship.