50th Season | History Of Jazz Coaches: Elgin Baylor

Ryan Kostecka
Digital Content Writer

As the Utah Jazz celebrate their 50th anniversary this season, it’s a great time to reflect on the long and proud history of the nine coaches who’ve been the leading man of the Jazz. 

From Scotty Robertson in 1974 to Will Hardy in 2022, the Jazz have been blessed with some of the greatest coaches in league history throughout their rich history. Read below for a look back at each coach, and see how the Jazz got to this point in history. 

2/4.) Elgin Baylor | 1974, 1976-79
Technically, Baylor was the second head coach in the history of the Jazz, although he only served as the leading man for one game in 1974 following the firing of Robertson. After returning to the bench as an assistant coach for the next couple of seasons under Butch van Breda Kolff, Baylor took over as head coach in 1976. 

While his coaching career was up and down, Baylor is known as being one of the significant basketball players in league history. 

Due to a basketball recruiting disparity at black high schools in the 1950s, Baylor went to the College of Idaho on a football scholarship. Although he never played a down for the school, he made the basketball team, averaging 31 points and 20 rebounds per game. He transferred to Seattle University, where he dominated college basketball for two seasons and led them to the 1957-58 national title game. 

Baylor was drafted No. 1 overall by the Minneapolis Lakers in 1958, where he was named the Rookie of the Year. He played his entire 14-year career with the Lakers, helping guide them to Los Angeles, where he became one of the best forwards in league history. Following his coaching career, Baylor was hired as the team's Vice President of Basketball Operations of the LA Clippers in 1986, serving 22 years. 

He died in Los Angeles on March 22, 2021. He was 86.

- 11x NBA All-Star
- 10x All-NBA
- NBA All-Star Game MVP (1959)
- NBA Rookie of the Year (1959)
- No. 22 retired by the Lakers
- 2x NCAA All-American
- NBA Executive of the Year (2006)
- Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame 
- College Basketball Hall of Fame

Points: 27.4
Rebounds: 13.5
Assists: 4.3 

- New Orleans Jazz | 86-135 (.389 winning percentage)