50th Season | History Of Jazz Coaches: Frank Layden

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. 

5.) Frank Layden | 1981-88
Known for his lighthearted approach to the game, Layden became one of the most famous coaches in Jazz history due to his ability to connect with his players, fans and his community. 

He started coaching at his alma mater, Niagara University in New York. After helping lead the program to its first NCAA Tournament appearance in 1970, Layden jumped to the NBA when he served as an assistant with Atlanta in 1976. 

However, his career took a turn when he was named the New Orleans Jazz general manager in 1979, helping move the team to Salt Lake City. Rather than staying in a front-office role, Layden double-dipped and was named the head coach of the Jazz in 1981. He helped lead a resurgent turnaround by the franchise, helping draft John Stockton and Karl Malone and hiring Jerry Sloan to be his assistant. 

After retiring from coaching in 1988, Layden made one more run as a head coach in Utah. A decade later, Layden was named the head coach of the WNBA's Utah Starzz where he coached from 1998-99.

He still resides in Salt Lake City with his wife, Barbara.

- NBA Coach of the Year (1984)
- NBA All-Star Game Head Coach (1984)
- J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award (1984)
- Chuck Daly Lifetime Achievement Award (2019)
- No. 1 retired by the Jazz
- NBA Executive of the Year (1984)

- Utah Jazz | 277-294
- Utah Starzz | 4-11

CAREER: 281-305 | .476 winning percentage