Stan Van Gundy Resigns as Head Coach
MIAMI, December 12 The Miami HEAT announced today that Stan Van Gundy has resigned as Head Coach due to personal and family reasons. HEAT President Pat Riley will assume head coaching duties immediately. Van Gundy will remain with the HEAT as an NBA free agent evaluator, while also assisting the team in other projects.
Riley joined the HEAT as President and Head Coach on September 2, 1995. He guided the HEAT to a 354-270 (.567) record with four Atlantic Division championships and six playoff berths in his eight seasons as the teams head coach. In addition to ranking as Miamis all-time victory leader, Riley ranks third on the NBAs regular season all-time list, compiling a 1,110-569 (.661) career mark in 21 seasons as an NBA head coach with the Los Angeles Lakers, New York Knicks and Miami HEAT, and second on the all-time postseason list amassing a 155-100 (.608) mark. A future Hall of Famer, Riley has led his teams to four NBA championships as a head coach, eight conference championships and a league-record 16 division championships. He is the only coach in league history to capture the NBA Coach of the Year Award with three different teams and his string of 19 consecutive playoff appearances as a head coach from 1982-2001 is a league record for consecutive postseason appearances. His 19 total appearances is tied for the most in NBA history. Additionally, when he won his 1,000th regular season game on November 1, 2000, he became the fastest coach or manager to reach 1,000 wins in the history of the four professional sports in North America, bettering the previous mark held by Fred Clarke of the Pittsburgh Pirates by an astonishing 144 games. Riley recorded his 1,000th win in just his 1,434 game. Riley currently stands as the all-time leader in both regular season and postseason victories for both the Lakers and the HEAT. Riley stepped down as head coach on October 24, 2003.
During his tenure leading the HEAT, Riley has pulled off some of the biggest blockbuster trades in the NBA. Those trades have netted the HEAT All-Stars Shaquille ONeal, Alonzo Mourning, Tim Hardaway and Eddie Jones. Riley also made trades to acquire talented players Brian Grant, Jamal Mashburn and Anthony Mason who all made big contributions to the HEATs success. This past summer he once again made headlines throughout the league as he helped engineer the largest trade in NBA history, a five-team, 13-player blockbuster, in which the HEAT obtained All-Star forward Antoine Walker from Boston and point guard Jason Williams and swingman James Posey from Memphis. He has also used the free agent market to help build the HEAT into a championship contender, signing the likes of P.J. Brown, Dan Majerle, Terry Porter, Lamar Odom, Damon Jones, Michael Doleac and Gary Payton through the free agent route.
Additionally, he has supplemented the roster over the years by signing unheralded free agents Malik Allen, Rafer Alston, Isaac Austin, Bruce Bowen, Udonis Haslem and Voshon Lenard. Using every option available to him, Riley has also added quality youth to the team through the successful drafting of Dwyane Wade, Caron Butler, Dorell Wright and Wayne Simien.
Van Gundy became the fifth head coach in franchise history when he took over the reigns from Riley on October 24, 2003. He has guided Miami to two postseason berths, a Southeast Division championship, 112 regular season wins and 17 postseason victories. The 17 postseason victories rank third in the NBA over the two-year period and the 112 regular season wins stand as the fifth highest mark in the league. Additionally, in each of his two years as a head coach, he has guided the HEAT to a 17-win improvement over the previous season, making him only the second coach in NBA history to lead his team to at least 15-win improvements in consecutive years.
In his two-plus seasons, Van Gundy has guided two different rosters and led each of those teams to at least the conference semifinals, only the third and fourth times in franchise history that the HEAT has advanced to the second round of the NBA Playoffs and the first time it has been accomplished in consecutive years. Last season he took the HEAT a step further, guiding Miami to the Eastern Conference Finals for only the second time in the teams history and came within several minutes of reaching the finals. His .607 postseason winning percentage ranks 10th on the NBAs all-time list. Van Gundys 17 postseason wins rank second on Miamis all-time list, one behind Riley, and both his postseason and regular season (.605) winning percentages rank first in HEAT history. He has also guided Miami to its only two four-game postseason sweeps, eliminating both New Jersey and Washington in four games during the magical 2005 postseason run. The eight consecutive postseason victories established a franchise record.