Newly named Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra, right, shakes hands with former coach Pat Riley, left, following a news conference in Miami yesterday. Riley stepped down as coach and will remain as president of the Heat. Spoelstra, a 37-year-old assistant will become the NBA's youngest current coach.
Pat Riley stepped down as head coach of the Miami Heat yesterday after a league-worst 15-67 season.
Long-time assistant Erik Spoelstra, 37, who joined the team 13 years ago as video coordinator, is to take over.
"I believe Erik Spoelstra is one of the most talented young coaches in a long time," Riley told a news conference.
Riley coached the Los Angeles Lakers to four NBA titles, led the New York Knicks to the NBA Finals and steered the Heat to the championship in 2006.
"The last five years I've been a little bit in conflict with whether or not I wanted to (coach)," said the 63-year-old. "Today I am definitely sure I don't want to do this any more.
"I do want to continue to be involved (as club president). I am very excited about moving forward in building this franchise back to where we can all be proud of it."
In two stints as Heat coach (1995-2003 and 2005-08) Riley guided the team to a 454-395 (.535) record with one title, one conference championship, six division championships and eight playoff berths.
In addition to being Miami's all-time wins leader he ranks third on the league's regular season list, compiling a 1,210-694 (.636) record in 24 seasons as a head coach.
Riley is second on the postseason wins list with a 171-111 (.606) record. He was also elected to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame earlier this month.
He guided all his teams to a total of nine conference championships and a league-record 18 division championships.
(Agencies via Shanghai Daily April 29, 2008)