Sports Outside the Beltway

Pat Riley steps down as Miami Heat Coach

This comes less than a month after the team had one of its worst seasons ever. From the Sun-Sentinel-

MIAMI – Last place and the Hall of Fame will be the final two stops of Pat Riley’s coaching career.

In a move that took days of deliberation but was hinted at months in advance, Riley announced today he is stepping down as coach of the Heat to concentrate fulltime on what had been his dual role as team president.

The announcement was made at an afternoon news conference at AmericanAirlines Arena.

Assistant coach Erik Spoelstra was named Riley’s replacement. Spoelstra has been with the franchise for 12 seasons.

Born Nov. 1, 1970, Spoelstra becomes the youngest current NBA coach, 69 days younger than Nets coach Lawrence Frank.

In September Riley gets inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame, an honor he deserves.

Riley quit coaching the Heat once before in 2004, but came back the following year. As long as the Heat are as bad as they are, Riley won’t be coaching them again. I get the distinct impression Riley can’t stand constant losing. On the other hand if the team looks destined for a title, he’ll step back in. Look what happened with Stan Van Gundy in 2005.

Right now the Heat are a long way from winning anything. They have one certifiable star(Wade) who at the same time is brittle. After that, the team doesn’t have much. Miami is in for a rebuilding project. I wonder if Riley has the patience to see it through as team President.

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