• Jerry Sloan escaped death in 1977 by quitting on his first coaching job
  • Sloan passed away on May 22
  • Sloan was the longest-tenured coach with one franchise in any major professional sport

Based on an eerie account during his first head coaching job in 1977, it appeared that Jerry Sloan had already dodged the bullet of death before he succumbed to complications of his disease on Friday. He was 78.

On a social media post on Tuesday, Nick Hauselman of the Basketball Breakdown chronicled how Sloan had a "crazy" escape by immediately quitting on his job as Evansville's head coach more than four decades ago.

"While editing my Jerry Sloan vid, I discovered a crazy story: He had taken the Evansville head coaching job in '77, quit after 5 days, later that season the whole team died in a tragic plane crash. The one player to survive (didn't travel due to injury) died in a car crash two weeks later," he wrote.

The tragic incident occurred on Dec. 13 of the said year as members of the University of Evansville basketball team boarded Air Indiana Flight 216 headed for Nashville to play the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders. According to reports, the aircraft lost control and crashed shortly after lift-off, killing 29 of its passengers.

“At 7:20 p.m. CST, Air Indiana Flight 216 took off from Dress Regional Airport on Evansville’s north side. Ninety seconds later, after clipping trees off of Twickingham Drive, the plane crashed, taking the lives of the 29 people who were aboard,” a report from SB Nation read.

Sloan served as the Jazz’s chief of the sidelines for 23 seasons, making him the longest-tenured head coach with one franchise in any major professional sport.

"Jerry Sloan was among the NBA's most respected and admired legends," NBA commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement. "He was the first coach to win 1,000 games with the same organization, which came to embody the qualities that made Jerry a Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer: persistence, discipline, drive, and selflessness."

Sloan was inducted into the Hoophall in 2009, serving as a highlight to his well-celebrated basketball career, both as a player and coach. He was an 11-year NBA veteran who spent 10 seasons with the Chicago Bulls, which retired his jersey No. 4 in 1978 – the first in franchise history. In 2014, Sloan was hailed in his second retirement ceremony, this time in Utah as the Jazz raised No. 1223 to the rafters, representing his career total wins with the franchise.