Erik Celino Spoelstra (born November 1, 1970 in Evanston, Illinois) is a Filipino-American basketball coach. He is currently the head coach of the NBA’s Miami Heat.
He is the first Filipino-American head coach in the NBA, as well as the first Filipino-American head coach of any North American professional sports team.
From 2001 to 2008, he served as Assistant Coach/Director of Scouting for the team. He coached the Heat to 90 wins and two playoff runs in his two years as coach.
His father, Jon Spoelstra, was an NBA Executive for the Portland Trail Blazers, Denver Nuggets, Buffalo Braves and New Jersey Nets. His mother, Elisa Celino is from San Pablo, Laguna in the Philippines.
Spoelstra grew up in Portland, Oregon, where he graduated from Jesuit High School in 1988 and from the University of Portland in 1992. At Jesuit High School, Spoelstra is third all-time in assists (488), tied for third in three-pointers made (156) and sixth in both three-point percentage (.384) and free throw percentage (.824).
At the University of Portland, Spoelstra was the Pilots’ starting point guard for four years, averaging 9.2 points, 4.4 assists and 2.4 rebounds per game, and was named the West Coast Conference Freshman of the Year. He is a member of Portland’s 1,000-point club.
After graduation from college, he spent two years as a player/coach for TuS Herten (later the Herten Ruhr Devils), a German professional team.
Spoelstra joined the Heat staff in 1995 as the team’s video coordinator. After two years, he was named assistant coach/video coordinator, then promoted to assistant coach/advance scout in 1999. He became the assistant coach/director of scouting in 2001.
He was cited by Sports Illustrated (May 30, 2005) for honing star guard Dwyane Wade’s “shooting balance and smoothing out his release after the Flash’s return from the Athens Olympics.”
In April 2008, Spoelstra was named successor to Pat Riley as head coach of the Miami Heat.
In naming Spoelstra as head coach, Riley said: ”This game is now about younger coaches who are technologically skilled, innovative and bring fresh new ideas. That’s what we feel we are getting with Erik Spoelstra. He’s a man that was born to coach.”
Pat Riley plans to change his approach from when Stan Van Gundy was the coach.
Riley predicted: ”A lot of players want the discipline; they will play [hard] for Spoelstra, because they respect him.’”
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