College - Portland
Erik Spoelstra enters his fifth season as head coach of the HEAT and his 18th as a member of the organization. Since being elevated to his current position on April 28, 2008, Spoelstra has rewarded the faith that HEAT President Pat Riley showed in him by garnering a 194-118 regular season record, a 34-22 postseason mark, four postseason appearances, two division titles, two conference championships and guiding the franchise to itsí second NBA championship in 2012.
In just four seasons at the helm, Spoelstra has already made his mark on the HEAT record book. He is currently tied for the franchise postseason record in victories (34), winning percentage (.607) and series won (seven) and his 56 postseason games coached rank second on Miamiís all-time list. In regular season play he enters the 2012-13 season ranked second on Miamiís all-time list in victories (194), games coached (312) and winning percentage (.602).
Since replacing Riley on the HEAT bench four years ago, Spoelstra has seen the expectations for the HEAT change dramatically from the time he was appointed head coach in 2008 until now. Throughout his tenure he has remained a steadying influence for his team and its paid huge dividends in return.
When he first took over the head coaching reins in 2008 he was given the task of improving a young team that had been ravaged by injuries the previous season and had won just 15 games. Two years later, after the summer of 2010 in which Miami re-signed Dwyane Wade and acquired All-Stars LeBron James and Chris Bosh, he found himself coaching a highly-talented, veteran group that was the most scrutinized team in the NBA. Spoelstra and his team have proven they are up for the challenge as he guided them to consecutive Eastern Conference Championships and back-to-back trips to the NBA Finals, just the second and third in franchise history. When Miami defeated Boston in a grueling seven-game series in the 2012 Eastern Conference Finals they became the first Eastern Conference team to make consecutive NBA Finals appearances since the Detroit Pistons accomplished the feat in 2004 and 2005.
Spoelstra, who ranks seventh on the NBAís all-time postseason winning percentage list, joined a very elite fraternity when he led the HEAT to a five-game series win over the Oklahoma City Thunder in the 2012 NBA Finals. Upon capturing the 2012 NBA Championship he became one of just 30 head coaches in NBA history to have won a championship.
That championship culminated a compressed 2011-12 season in which Miami went 46-20 and captured its second consecutive Southeast Division title. The regular season was highlighted by a nine-game win streak (Feb. 10-Mar. 1) with each victory a double-digit win. During that streak the HEAT became the first team to win road games on three consecutive nights (Feb. 12-14) since December of 1979 and the first to win each of those contests by double-digits since the 1970-71 season. That streak keyed an 11-2 record in February for Miami which saw Spoelstra earn Coach of the Month honors for the third time in his career.
Miamiís success during the 2011-12 campaign was driven by its defense. The HEAT once again ranked among the top defensive teams in the NBA, finishing third in steals per game, fourth in scoring defense, fourth in scoring margin and fifth in field goal percentage defense, the third straight year Miami ranked in the top five in field goal percentage defense. The HEAT also remained dominant at home, posting a 28-5 record, which included a 17-game home winning streak, the second longest in franchise history. The 28 home victories tied for the most in the league and the .848 home winning percentage was the second best single-season mark in franchise history. In his four seasons guiding the HEAT, Spoelstraís record at the AmericanAirlines Arena is a sterling 110-46. The 2011-12 season was also the third straight season the HEAT posted a winning record on the road, tying the franchise record for most consecutive winning seasons away from home.
Spoelstra led Miami to a 58-24 regular season record, a Southeast Division title and an Eastern Conference championship in 2010-11. The 58 wins mark the third best total in franchise history and Miamiís 28 road wins tied for the most in the NBA in 2010-11 and rank second in HEAT history. Spoelstra earned NBA Eastern Conference Coach of the Month honors in December after guiding the HEAT to a 15-1 record, including a perfect 10-0 mark on the road. The 15 total wins and 10 road victories in December each set a franchise record for any month and the HEAT established an NBA record for most consecutive road wins in a calendar month. Defense was once again the stalwart of the HEATís success as Miami led the NBA in point differential, finished second in defensive field goal percentage and sixth in scoring defense.
After an impressive rookie campaign, Spoelstra guided Miami to a 47-35 record in 2009-10. Under his leadership the HEAT closed the season by winning 18 of its final 22 games, including a 12-3 record in March which earned him NBA Eastern Conference Coach of the Month honors. The 2009-10 season was one of its best defensive seasons for Miami as the HEAT allowed the fewest field goals in the NBA and finished second in both points allowed and defensive field goal percentage.
During his rookie season, Spoelstra led Miami to its greatest single-season improvement. He inherited a 15-win team and directed it to a 28-win improvement, marking the greatest improvement by a rookie head coach in NBA history, bettering the previous record of a 20-win improvement by Chicagoís Ed Badger during the 1976-77 season. It also marked the seventh-best single-season improvement in NBA history by any coach. As a result of a 43-win season, the most by a head coach in his first year guiding the HEAT, Spoelstra led Miami to the 2009 NBA Playoffs. The 2009 postseason appearance made Miami just the second team in NBA history to win 15-or-fewer games one year and make the postseason the next, joining the 1968-69 San Diego Rockets.
Before taking over the reigns as the sixth head coach in HEAT history, Spoelstra had served Miami in a number of roles in his first 13 years. He was originally hired as video coordinator and over the years was promoted to assistant coach/video coordinator, assistant coach/advance scout and assistant coach/director of scouting before ascending to head coach. He made a name for himself around the league with his game preparation and superb attention to detail. In his seven seasons as the HEATís assistant coach/director of scouting, he had the primary role of developing game plans for upcoming opponents. To that end, he coordinated the video staff and advance scouts while overseeing the development of scouting reports and videos.
Spoelstra has earned the respect of players throughout the league with a strong reputation as a teacher over the years by heading the HEATís Individual Player Development Program. As an assistant coach, where he also served for three seasons (2005-07) as the head coach of the HEATís summer league team, and as the HEATís head man now, he has worked tirelessly with many of Miamiís young players in areas of fundamentals, skill development and shooting. This consistent emphasis of fundamentals contributed to the HEAT setting a franchise-record in 2008-09 for fewest turnovers in a season, committing 96 fewer turnovers than the previous franchise record, and then responding the following season with the second fewest turnovers in a season.
Additionally, Spoelstra helped design and integrate a proprietary statistical database and scouting software for the HEAT. Under Spoelstra, the HEAT continues to embrace the use of technology and continues to use the state-of-the-art statistical software to evaluate team productivity, individual player productivity and trends for both the HEAT and the teamís opponents. That use of technology as a teaching tool also included putting the teamís video playbook on iPads for his players.
In 1992, he graduated from the University of Portland with a degree in communications. While attending Portland, Spoelstra was the starting point guard for four years and was named the West Coast Conference Freshman of the Year in 1989. Upon graduating he spent two years as a player/coach for Tus Herten, a team in the professional sports league of Germany.
A team member of the NBA FIT initiative, Spoelstra takes pride in encouraging and educating children on the physical, mental and emotional benefits of healthy living, as well as motivating and inspiring their families to live healthier lives through a variety of events and activities. Additionally, he created ďSpoís ShootersĒ, in 2008 in conjuction with the Miami HEAT Community Education Ticket Program. This program reaches out to South Floridaís less fortunate student-athletes and gives them the opportunity to enjoy HEAT games and meet their favorite HEAT players and role models.
He has returned to his native Philippines in each of the last four offseasons to host clinics and promote education, health and wellness to thousands of at-risk youth through grassroots programs and events. The 9-day program in Manila in the summer of 2011 was the largest NBA FIT event ever hosted in Southeast Asia under the NBA Cares umbrella. In the summer of 2012, Coach Spoelstra expanded his reach into other Southeast Asia nations by conducting coaches clinics and other FIT activities in Singapore.
Raised in Portland, OR, Spoelstra, who was inducted into the Jesuit High School Athletic Hall of Fame in September 2009, is the first Asian/Filipino-American head coach in any of the major North American sports leagues.
Spoelstra is the son of Jon Spoelstra, a long-time NBA executive who has guided the Portland Trail Blazers, Denver Nuggets, Buffalo Braves and New Jersey Nets. His grandfather, Watson, was a Detroit Tigers beat writer for many years.