Scott Layden takes assistant GM position with the Spurs

September 1st, 2012 | by Spencer Hall

Now is as good a time as any to check out this bizarre vignette found in the KSL archives as part of our Retro Jazz project with KSL’s Jeremiah Jensen, featuring Frank Layden and Thurl Bailey re-enacting scenes from Indiana Jones in the old Salt Palace to illustrate the passing of the guard to his son Scott.

Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnorwoski is reporting that the Jazz assistant coach has accepted a position as assistant GM with the San Antonio Spurs. Layden began his career with the Jazz all the way back in 1981 and recently completed his 25th year with the franchise. He also infamously spent four and half years running (ruining?) the New York Knicks as GM and later as team president as well.

Layden is essentially job-swapping with new Jazz GM Dennis Lindsey, taking over Lindsey’s vacant position in San Antonio. I’m not sure if Layden was ever seriously considered for the Jazz GM spot or even if he wanted it, but it’s clear his heart was in front office work and not continuing on the sidelines as an assistant. Some have implied that Layden may have felt slighted by the Lindsey hire, but there’s no question the Jazz did him a huge favor by allowing him to rehab his career when they hired him as an assistant after nearly being out of basketball due to the Knicks debacle.

He’s been nothing but great for the Jazz franchise, however. Here’s to great success in San Antonio (though not against the Jazz) to a basketball lifer who is one of the main reasons the we all have great memories about the Jazz. I always enjoyed my interactions with Layden and he’s been nothing but a pleasure to cover. All my finest to a Jazz legend as he furthers his career.

Scott Layden’s bio from the Jazz media guide:

Scott Layden enters his 25th season with the Utah Jazz and his seventh as an assistant coach after returning to the franchise prior to the 2005-06 campaign. Things have come full circle for Layden, as he is now back in the place where his pro basketball career started, this time as an assistant on Tyrone Corbin’s coaching staff. Previously, Layden and Corbin worked together for over five years under Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame inductee and former Jazz head coach Jerry Sloan. In total, Layden would work with Sloan and former Jazz lead assistant coach Phil Johnson for over 14 seasons.

Layden’s responsibilities include helping Jazz players develop and hone their basketball skills, game preparation for opponents, and coordinating advance scouts. He has also shared coaching duties with Corbin during the 2005-08 Rocky Mountain Revues as well as the Orlando Pro Summer League in 2009 and 2010. In addition, Layden has worked basketball camps for both the NBA and adidas in China, Brazil and Europe the past eight years.

Before re-joining the Jazz, Layden worked with NBA TV for part of the 2003-04 and entirety of the 2004-05 NBA seasons. Prior to that, Layden served as general manager of the New York Knicks beginning in the 1999-00 season. A year and a half later, he added team president to his title. During his four and a half year tenure the Knicks made the playoffs twice, advancing to the Eastern Conference Finals in 2000. Preceding his stint with the Knicks, Layden spent 18 years in a variety of capacities with the Jazz, establishing a reputation as one of the game’s most astute judges of talent and an instrumental figure in the Jazz’s perennial success.

From 1992 through 1999, Layden was the primary Jazz contact and driving force behind all player personnel, draft and trade decisions. During his tenure as Utah’s primary architect, the Jazz recorded five straight 50+ win seasons (including three 60+ win campaigns), two Midwest Division titles (1996-97 and 1997-98) and back-to-back Western Conference Championships in 1997 and 1998. Layden was runner-up (to the Lakers’ Jerry West) for The Sporting News NBA Executive of the Year award in 1994-95, a season in which the Jazz went 60-22.

After spending one year as an assistant coach at Fairleigh Dickinson University in New Jersey, Layden began his pro basketball career as an administrative assistant and scout with the Jazz in 1981. In February of 1982 he was elevated to assistant to Frank Layden, where he remained until being named the Jazz’s director of player personnel in 1989, and then director of basketball operations in 1992, before being promoted to vice president in September of 1996.

An upstate New York prep standout, Layden went on to play collegiate basketball for St. Francis University in Loretto, Penn., where he was a four-year letterman and captained the team in his senior year of 1979-80. He graduated with a degree in business management.

An active member of the Salt Lake community, Layden volunteers his time on the fundraising committee with the Muscular Dystrophy Association and the Catholic Community Services Board of Trustees. He is also an active participant in JazzCares, hosting clinics for the children of fireman, police officers, military personnel, nurses and teachers. In addition, he has led camps in Israel two of the past three years in conjunction with PeacePlayers International, a program that uses basketball to teach children proven tactics for improving their communities.

Layden and his wife, Marsha, have four daughters: Sarah, Hannah, Mary Frances and Emma Grace.

Spencer Hall
Founder Spencer Hall has covered the NBA, Team USA and NBA D-League since 2007 and launched Salt City Hoops in 2009. Spencer is now the news director at KSL.com
Spencer Hall
Spencer Hall

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