Person 2 Person | Stories - Person 2 Person: Frank Layden
Monday, July 7 2014, 11:29 AM MDT
Person 2 Person: Frank Layden
Frank Layden is the former coach of the Utah Jazz who is responsible for hiring Jerry Sloan as well as drafting and coaching John Stockton and Karl Malone. Known for his witty personality and big heart, Frank is a staple in the community. Although this Brooklyn native retired as the head coach of the Jazz back in 1989, Frank and his wife Barbara haven't slowed down one bit. In this week's Person 2 Person, Frank tells Shauna Lake that the key to retirement success is having a game plan.

Below is a transcript of Shauna Lake's interview with Frank Layden:

SHAUNA LAKE: What is life like for you these days Frank?

FRANK LAYDEN: It's wonderful. Barbara and I are blessed. Since retirement we've had our health. We have the means to be able to travel a little bit. We have good friends around the country, and we're having a ball...couldn't be better.

SHAUNA LAKE: Some people say retirement is so boring; they didn't expect it. Have you found that at all?

FRANK LAYDEN: You know it's interesting you say that because David Stern, the commissioner of the NBA for many years and a good friend, called me to tell me he was retiring finally and I said, "Well be careful." I said, "Retirement can be deadly." You can't play golf every day. You can't play tennis every day. You can't, you know you think you can but once you start then you find out, woah this is boring you know. So I suggested to him, I said, "Have a game plan. List those things you want to do; I'm not talking about a bucket list that you want to rush into things before you die, but maybe things that you've always wanted to do. Don't just go into retirement cold. It'll kill you."

SHAUNA LAKE: And what are some of the things on your list that you've experienced?

FRANK LAYDEN: Well first of all people kind of looked at me as this one-dimensional person. They thought it was basketball, basketball, basketball. It was quite the opposite. Basketball was third on the list of things I like to do. I enjoy baseball more than I enjoy basketball. I was better at it. I like it. I come from Brooklyn, The Dodgers. However our real love, and I'm talking about Barbara and I, is the theater. So we decided to investigate and learn more about the theater than being just patrons.

SHAUNA LAKE: You took some acting classes?

FRANK LAYDEN: Well we took acting class at the university, but we traveled doing Love Letters. And we did that play; it's a two person play, for charity. And we did it a couple times in the east, in Arizona, and here in Utah and made some money for some very worthy causes.

SHAUNA LAKE: What does it feel like though to be so beloved in a community where people do call you all the time and want a piece of Frank Layden?

FRANK LAYDEN: It's very good. And you know...I look at it this way. People ask me all the time, "Where do you live now?" And I say, "I live in Salt Lake City, Utah." And a lot of people back east think huh? They pull back and say, "Why would you live there?" You know you're from Brooklyn, New York. Barbara's from Brooklyn, New York. But this is a good place to live. You know we've lived here for 38 years. Our children live here. Our grandchildren live here. So this is home to them. They married here and so I find the reason being...not the mountains, not the snow, not the good weather and everything; the thing that makes this a great place is we have wonderful people living here.

SHAUNA LAKE: I have been touched that you have mentioned Barbara so many times in the course of the interview. It's always me and Barbara, me and Barbara and I think that's touching.

FRANK LAYDEN: Yeah we're a team.

SHAUNA LAKE: You've been together for how many years?

FRANK LAYDEN: We have just celebrated on June 1st our 58th wedding anniversary. It was a match made in heaven. Both of us are from Brooklyn. She could walk to Ebbets Field. I had to take the bus, but I lived in a little nicer neighborhood than she did. But anyway, we get along. We like each other and what each other does. We like our sports. We like to do things together. We might not always do them well but we fact you know it's funny. I go into Smiths to buy some groceries or something and somebody will say, "Where's Barbara?" You know the guy is piling up the oranges and he's worried, "Where's Barbara? Is Barbara okay?" Yeah. So we get used to being seen together but we like the same things. We're a partnership, and I really mean this. I'd never had gotten to where I did without Barbara and there's nothing I ever did. I was a high school teacher for ten years, and I had to make a choice to go to college coaching...from college to the pros. I always went to Barbara and said, "What do you think?"

SHAUNA LAKE: You've had so much success in your life. Was there ever a failure Frank? In something that you failed at that propelled you?

FRANK LAYDEN: All the time, all the time. Let me tell you something how my life started. My mother died in my childbirth, in my childbirth. So I never had a mother okay? I was brought up by the neighborhood. My father worked on the dock six and a half days you know a week. And so you know right off the bat you have a reason to fail. You know we didn't have a lot of money, but we were never poor. And I was very fortunate to have good coaches, good tutors, good mentors to follow...high school and college. So you know if everything had been the way I wanted it to be, then maybe things would be a lot different. However I also think that the good lord has a plan for us. I think that it was no accident that I'm here. It just was my nature not to be knocked down and not be able to get up. Maybe it's my Brooklyn background or something you know? But I never felt hurt by anything. I used to...sometimes in the most dire times I would crack a joke. And relieve the tension and relieve the problems. So I hope that was the right thing to do. And now I'm trying to outlive the system, and I hope to live to 150 and Barbara lives to 151 and then we'll have it licked.

SHAUNA LAKE: And that's a perfect note to end on. So nice to get to know you better Person 2 Person.

FRANK LAYDEN: Thank you.

SHAUNA LAKE: We're blessed to have you.

FRANK LAYDEN: And yes you'll have me back again next week?

SHAUNA LAKE: Sure. I'm sure it's going to be a ratings grabber so yes of course. Thank you so much.

FRANK LAYDEN: Thank you. Thanks for having me on.

SHAUNA LAKE: Appreciate it.


-Produced by Leslie Tillotson

Photos Courtesy: The Salt Lake Tribune 

(Copyright 2014 Sinclair Broadcasting Group.)
Person 2 Person: Frank Layden

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