Those that historically follow basketball in Southern Illinois are probably keen to the deep ties between NBA Hall of Fame coach Jerry Sloan and the rural community of McLeansboro, Illinois.
Sloan, who helmed the Utah Jazz for 23 seasons that included signature teams that appeared in the NBA Finals during back-to-back campaigns in 1997-98, grew up and played hoops locally on the Hamilton County hard court, earning All-State honors in 1960.
Upon finishing his pro career, Sloan earned coaching roles with both the Bulls and the Jazz, the latter that netted him notoriety via wins and tenure.
During his 33-year stretch of coaching (1978-2011), Sloan always made it a point to return to his roots and make McLeansboro, located 100 miles southeast of St. Louis, an off-season stop because of family residing there.
More importantly, the return to friendly confines helped him escape the pressures associated with the eclectic world of professional round ball.
“He enjoyed coming home and catching up with friends,” said Holly Parrish, the patriarch’s youngest. “He enjoyed talking with people because most of the time nobody wanted to talk about basketball. That was always a nice break for him.”
In 2002, Sloan built a custom home within the town of 2,400. The 53-acre estate would be a perpetual get-away over the next two decades.
“He enjoyed getting on his tractors and farming the land,” said Parrish. “Working on the farm was his way of relaxing. He enjoyed having his grandkids come out and spend time on the farm, riding four wheelers and side-by-sides.”
Sloan, who was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2009, passed away in May at the age of 78.
Beginning Tuesday, the family plans to sell his McLeansboro habitat to a potential new owner.
The listed $1.1 million estate contains a 9,700 square foot house that sports four bedrooms, five bathrooms, as well as an adjacent insulated outbuilding.
Parrish, who currently lives in Northern Illinois, regularly visited the getaway and acknowledges the property’s tranquility.
“That (was) my home away from home and it was where my family and I would spend time in the summers,” she said. “We spent a lot of time out on the back porch that overlooked the fields. Every morning, we’d grab our field glasses and look out to see what type of wildlife was in the fields.”
According to Parrish, the transition after hours also provides calm.
“The night times are absolutely wonderful,” she said. “You can hear the occasional coyote, but the chirp of crickets is so relaxing!”
The property is being sold by Curren Miller Auction/Realty. Contact Wendy Miller at (800) 264-0691 for more information.