Sports Outside the Beltway

Pat Riley to return as Miami Heat coach

From the Sun Sentinel

Pat Riley confirmed Wednesday that he will return as Heat coach.

After acknowledging as much on the eve of last season’s playoffs, Riley cast doubt on his sideline future in the wake of his team’s 2006 NBA title when he said in late June, “I’m absolutely spent, worn out.”

But apparently rejuventated by a whirlwind offseason that has included vacations in Africa, Europe and Hawaii, Riley issued a statement quelling speculation that he might step aside. Immediately after issuing his statement, Riley departed to Japan for the World Championships, where Heat guard Dwyane Wade is participating.

“After winning the championship, I realized there’s always something meaningful that happens in your life that becomes the primary point of your destiny,” Riley said. “Winning the championship showed me that I am definitely in the right place, at the right time, with the right people. I can’t wait to get started.”

Riley, 61, began his second tenure as Heat coach Dec. 12, after Stan Van Gundy stepped aside for personal reasons. Riley said at the time his only commitment was for the balance of the season. He then waffled numerous times about committing to a longer sideline future, necessitating the need for Wednesday’s statement.

Riley will continue in his dual role as team president, a title he has held since joining the team in 1995, which also was the start of his initial eight-season Heat coaching tenure.

Riley ranks as the NBA’s third-winningest coach, with a 1,151-589 record in 22 seasons. He also ranks second on the NBA’s all-time postseason victory list, at 171-107, with five titles. He is 395-290 in his nine seasons as Heat coach.

The news doesn’t surprise me. Riley manuevered Stan Van Gundy out so to be able to coach again. I never thought it would be a one-year deal.

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