Erik Spoelstra replaces Pat Riley as Heat coach
Miami Heat President and Head Coach Pat Riley announced this afternoon that he has decided to step down as Head Coach of the Miami Heat, but will continue to serve as team President. Heat Managing General Partner Micky Arison and Riley jointly announced that former Assistant Coach/Director of Scouting Erik Spoelstra has been elevated to head coach. Spoelstra becomes the sixth head coach in franchise history.
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“The game of basketball is a game about talent,” said Riley. “While we are always looking for NBA talent to perform on the court, the most important talent that you may find has to perform on the bench, in the locker room, on the practice court, late at night, watching film, motivating and executing all the responsibilities of a head coach. I believe Erik Spoelstra is one of the most talented young coaches to come around in a long time. This game is now about younger coaches who are technologically skilled, innovative and bring fresh new ideas. That’s what we feel we are getting with Erik Spoelstra. He’s a man that was born to coach.”
Spoelstra just completed his 13th season as a member of the Heat staff and his seventh in the role of Assistant Coach/Director of Scouting where he had the primary role of developing game plans for upcoming opponents. Spoelstra was responsible for coordinating the video staff and advance scouts while also overseeing the development of scouting reports and videos. He has been in charge of the Heat’s Individual Player Development Program and has served as the head coach of the Heat’s summer league squad each of the past three summers.
The 37-year old Portland native originally joined the Heat as the team’s video coordinator in 1995. He spent two years in that role where he was responsible for preparing scouting tapes and heading up the team’s information technology for the coaching staff. He served as Assistant Coach/Video Coordinator the following two seasons (1997-99). He was then promoted to Assistant Coach/Advance Scout and served in that role for two seasons (1999-01) before being elevated to Assistant Coach/Director of Scouting the role he has served in the past seven years. Spoelstra has become the NBA’s youngest current head coach, born on Nov. 1, 1970 in Evanston, IL. He is 69 days younger than the second youngest head coach, Lawrence Frank of the New Jersey Nets.
A 1992 graduate from the University of Portland, Spoelstra was the starting point guard for four years for the Pilots and was named the West Coast Conference Freshman of the Year. After college he spent two years as a player/coach for Tus Herten, a team in the professional sports league of Germany.
Spoesltra is the son of Jon Spoelstra, a long-time NBA executive who has guided the Portland Trail Blazers, Denver Nuggets and New Jersey Nets.