saw the HEAT capture its fourth consecutive Atlantic Division crown.
That season also culminated a dream for the franchise as Riley
ushered Miami into its beautiful new home, the AmericanAirlines
Arena, a state-of-the-art downtown bayside arena. The following
season, Riley turned in what many experts claim was one of the
best coaching jobs of his amazing career. After re-working the roster
in the summer of 2000 by acquiring three-time All-Star Eddie Jones
and hard-working power forward Brian Grant to make a run at a
possible championship, Riley had to guide the franchise through one
of the biggest jolts in its history. On October 16, in the middle of the
pre-season, Alonzo Mourning, the team’s centerpiece, announced
that due to a kidney disease he was expected to miss the entire
season. Despite the devastating news, Riley guided the HEAT to
a 50-32 record for a second place fi nish in the Atlantic Division and
the third best record in the conference.
Before joining the HEAT, Riley spent four successful seasons as the
head coach of the New York Knicks. Prior to Riley’s arrival the Knicks
had posted just four winning seasons in the previous 10 years (1981-91).
During his four-year stint in New York, Riley guided the Knicks to
four straight winning seasons, four consecutive playoff berths and
compiled a 223-105 record. His .680 winning percentage is the best
in Knicks history, easily outdistancing former assistant Jeff Van Gundy
who ranks second (.590), and his 223 victories rank fourth on the
club’s all-time list. He recorded at least 50 wins in each of his four
seasons in New York, the only time in Knicks history the team
posted at least 50 wins in four consecutive years. The highlight of
his career with the Knicks was leading them to the 1994 NBA Finals,
New York’s fi rst trip to the Finals since the 1972-73 season.
Riley’s teams won three consecutive Atlantic Division titles in his
fi rst three years (1991-94) in New York, and his tireless dedication
earned him his second NBA Coach of the Year honor in 1993.
Prior to leading the Knicks, Riley was head coach of the Lakers for
nine years and guided the team to four NBA titles and three other
NBA Finals appearances. After taking over for Paul Westhead
11 games into the 1981-82 season, he led the Lakers to the NBA
Championship in his fi rst season as a head coach in the league.
Under Riley, the Lakers became the fi rst NBA team to win 60 games
in four consecutive seasons (1984-85 through 1987-88). He won
the Pacifi c Division title in each of his nine years leading the Lakers
and was honored as the 1990 NBA Coach of the Year. He compiled
a 533-194 (.733) regular season record in his nine seasons in L.A.
and won at least 50 games each year. Riley, who averaged 59 wins
a season in L.A., brought “Showtime” to the Great Western Forum.
Under Riley the Lakers recorded a 305-59 (.838) regular season mark
at home. His teams also compiled a 102-47 (.685) postseason record.
His 102 postseason victories rank second on the Lakers’ all-time list
as do his 533 regular season wins.
After leaving the Lakers, Riley served as co-host of “NBA Showtime”
on NBC in 1990-91 before joining the Knicks in the fall of 1991. It was
a return to the television booth for Riley who was Chick Hearn’s
partner on Lakers’ broadcasts after his playing days ended (1977-79).
He returned to the bench early in the 1979-80 campaign when Lakers’
Head Coach Paul Westhead asked him to become an assistant coach.
As a player, Riley had an extensive nine-year career. He was the 1967
fi rst-round pick (seventh overall) of the San Diego Rockets for their
inaugural 1967-68 season. After three seasons, he joined the Lakers’
in 1970-71 and played fi ve years. He was a member of the 1971-72
Lakers team that won an NBA-record 33 consecutive games and the
NBA Championship. Riley fi nished his playing career with the 1976
Western Conference Champion Phoenix Suns.
Born in Schenectady, NY, Riley attended Linton High School where
he became a two-sport star in basketball and football. He was a
member of the Linton basketball team that beat historic Power
Memorial High and center Lew Alcindor, who, as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar,
would later lead Riley’s Lakers to greatness. As a tribute to his
accomplishments, Linton renamed its gym in Riley’s honor in 1997
and inducted him into its hall of fame in 2000.
After turning down an offer to play football for Bear Bryant at
Alabama, Riley decided instead to play basketball for Adolph Rupp
at Kentucky from 1963-67. He was a collegiate star, earning team
MVP honors three times and averaging 22 points per game on the
Wildcats’ famed “Rupp’s Runts” squad that lost in the 1966 NCAA
Finals to Texas Western. A gifted athlete, he was an 11th-round
draft choice of the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys in 1967 although he never
played college football. His brother, Lee, played defensive back for
the Detroit Lions, Philadelphia Eagles, and New York Giants of the
NFL (1955-60) and for the New York Titans of the American Football
League (1961-62). His father, Leon, was a major league catcher/
outfi elder with Philadelphia in 1944 and became a minor league
manager in the Phillies’ organization.
Along with his wife, Chris, Riley has been involved with numerous
charity and community service projects throughout his career.
They founded The Miami HEAT Family Outreach in 1997 which
has raised over $21 million for the South Florida community and
whose primary benefi ciaries include Jackson Memorial Foundation’s
Guardian Angels which supports the Holtz Center for seriously ill
children and SafeSpace which is a domestic violence shelter for
women and their children. They are also involved in the Pediatric
AIDS Foundation’s Kids for Kids organization which they started
in 1992 in New York, and the YMCA in Los Angeles, New York,
and Miami. For over 30 years the Rileys have been actively involved
with Boys and Girls Clubs of America. As a result of his efforts,
Riley has received many prestigious awards, including the
Miami Project Sports Legend Award in 1992, Boys and Girls Clubs
Miami Person of the Year Award in 1998, and was honored by the
YMCA Miami in 1998. Riley was also instrumental in establishing
the HEAT’s Home Strong program in 2006 which supports and gives
aid to military personnel.
Riley is not only one of professional basketball’s winningest coaches,
but his speeches before hundreds of corporations have earned him
the title of “America’s Greatest Motivational Speaker.” He has been
rated by SUCCESS magazine as “The best in his fi eld.” Riley has also
completed an award winning 30-minute motivational video entitled
“Teamwork” in which he applies his winning philosophies to business
and life in general. In addition to being one of the most sought after
motivational speakers in the country, Riley has authored two books,
Show Time and The Winner Within. Pat and his wife, Chris, have two
children, James Patrick, and Elisabeth Marie.