NBA Team: Miami Heat
Born: Nov 1, 1970
Erik Spoelstra completed his fourth season as head coach of the HEAT and his 17th as a member of the organization. He was elevated to his current position on April 28, 2008 when HEAT President Pat Riley stepped down as head coach, and made him the league’s youngest head coach. In his first four seasons, Spoelstra has led Miami to a 194-118 record and four consecutive postseason appearances.
During his rookie season, despite having one of the NBA’s youngest rosters, Spoelstra led Miami to its greatest single-season improvement in franchise history. He took a 15-win team from the previous season and directed them to a 28-win improvement, marking the greatest single-season improvement by a rookie head coach in NBA history, bettering the previous record of a 20-win improvement by Chicago Bulls Head Coach 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.
He followed that impressive debut with a 47-35 record during the 2009-10 season and another trip to the playoffs. Miami recorded 23 road wins, the fourth most in franchise history, including eight straight to finish the season. Under Spoelstra’s 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. Known for his defensive mindset, Spoelstra led Miami to one of its best defensive seasons ever, allowing the fewest field goals (2,813) in the NBA during the 2009-10 season and finishing second in both points allowed (94.2) and field goal percentage allowed (.439).
During the 2010-11 season, his third as head coach, Spoelstra led the HEAT to a 58-24 record. The 58 wins marked the third-most in franchise history and only the seventh time Miami has posted a 50-win season. Additionally, the HEAT’s 28 road wins were the second-highest total in franchise history, tying for the most in the NBA that season. Spoelstra’s defensive gameplan held opponents to under 40 percent shooting from the field 18 times while placing Miami amongst the best defensive teams in the league as they finished first in point differential (+7.5), second in opponent field goal percentage (.434), sixth in points allowed (94.6) and ninth in opponent three-point field goal percentage (.345). Spoelstra was named the NBA Coach of the Month for December 2010 as he led Miami to a 15-1 record en route to their third consecutive playoff berth under his guidance while capturing the Eastern Conference Championship.
In the shortened 66-game 2011-12 NBA season, Spoelstra managed to produce a very respectable 46-20 record, good enough to place the Heat 1st in the Southeast Division for the second straight year. In June, 2012, Spoelstra etched his name in the history books by becoming the first Filipino-American and only Asian head coach to lead his team to an NBA championship. As an organization, the Heat are the first NBA champions to trail in three different series on their way to winning the title. Miami was down 2-1 to Indiana, 3-2 to Boston and 1-0 to Oklahoma City.
Before taking over the reigns as the sixth head coach in franchise history, Spoelstra had served the HEAT in a number of roles in his first 13 years. He originally was 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 his current position. He made a name for himself around the league with his game preparation and superb attention to detail. In his seven seasons as the HEAT’s assistant coach/director of scouting, he had the primary role of developing game plans for Miami’s 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 HEAT’s Individual Player Development Program. As an assistant coach, where he also served for three seasons (2005-07) as the head coach of the HEAT’s summer league team, and as the HEAT’s head man now, he has worked tirelessly with many of Miami’s 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 team’s opponents. That use of technology as a teaching tool also included putting the team’s 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 families to engage in physical activity and healthy living practices with their children. Additionally, he created “Spo’s Shooters”, in conjuction with the Miami HEAT Community Education Ticket Program. This program reaches out to South Florida’s less fortunate student-athletes and gives them the opportunity to enjoy HEAT games and meet their favorite HEAT players and role models.
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. He has returned to his native Philippines in past summers with the NBA and U.S. State Department to host clinics and promote education, health and wellness to thousands of at-risk youth.
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 mother, Elisa Celino is a native of San Pablo, Laguna. In 2008 and 2010 when Spoelstra visited his mother’s hometown he described it as a “truly life changing” experience. Furthermore, having grown up in the US he explained that he wanted to develop a stronger connection with the culture and his relatives. His grandfather, Watson, was a Detroit Tigers beat writer for many years.
ERIK SPOELSTRA HEAD COACHING RECORD
SEASON TEAM RECORD FINISH PLAYOFFS
2008-09 Miami HEAT 43-39 (.524) 3rd/Southeast 3-4 (.429)
2009-10 Miami HEAT 47-35 (.573) 3rd/Southeast 1-4 (.200)
2010-11 Miami HEAT 58-24 (.707) 1st/Southeast 14-7 (.667)
2011-12 Miami HEAT 46-20 (.697) 1st/Southeast 16-7 (.696)
TOTALS (4 Seasons) 194-118 (.622) 34-22 (.607)