Erik Spoelstra begins his 12th season as
head coach of the HEAT and his 25th as a
member of the organization. Since being
elevated to his current position on April
28, 2008, Spoelstra has rewarded the faith
that HEAT President Pat Riley showed in
him by garnering a 523-363 regular season
record, a 71-47 postseason mark, eight
postseason appearances, six division titles,
four conference championships and guiding
the franchise to a pair of NBA championships.
Since his ascension to head coach, Miami has
the fi fth-highest regular season winning
percentage in the NBA (tops in the Eastern
Conference) and has recorded the fourth-best postseason winning percentage.
In 11 seasons at the helm, Spoelstra has already established his place in the
HEAT record book as the winningest coach in franchise history. He holds the
franchise postseason records for victories (71), winning percentage (.602),
series won (15) and games coached (118). In regular season play he ranks
fi rst in victories (523), games coached (886) and winning percentage (.590).
Spoelstra, who passed Riley on Miami’s all-time victory list with win number
455 on Dec. 16, 2017, has also been honored as the NBA’s Eastern Conference
Coach of the Month a franchise-record eight times.
Since replacing Riley on the HEAT bench 11 years ago, Spoelstra has seen
the expectations for his team change dramatically from the time he was
appointed head coach until now. When he inherited the head coaching reins
in 2008 he was given the task of improving a young team that had been
ravaged by injuries the previous season and had won just 15 games.
Two years later, after the summer of 2010 in which Miami re-signed
Dwyane Wade and acquired All-Stars LeBron James and Chris Bosh,
he found himself coaching a highly-talented, veteran group that was the
most scrutinized team in the NBA. Throughout his tenure he has remained
a steadying infl uence for his team and its paid huge dividends in return.
Spoelstra has proven up to the challenge as he has guided them to a pair of
NBA Championships, four-straight Eastern Conference Championships and
four consecutive trips to the NBA Finals. When the HEAT defeated Indiana in
the 2014 Eastern Conference Finals they became the just the third franchise
in NBA history to make four consecutive NBA Finals appearances, joining the
Celtics and Lakers. It also made them at the time just one of 10 franchises
in the four major North American sports leagues to make four consecutive
trips to the league championship. Individually, Spoelstra became just the
fourth head coach in NBA history to lead his team to four consecutive Finals
appearances joining Red Auerbach, K.C. Jones and Pat Riley.
Spoelstra, who is currently in ninth place on the NBA’s all-time postseason
winning percentage list (minimum 50 games coached) and second among
active head coaches, joined a very elite fraternity when he led the HEAT to
a seven-game series win over the San Antonio Spurs in the 2013 NBA Finals.
Upon capturing the 2013 NBA Championship he became just the 13th head
coach in NBA history to have won multiple championships and only the
eighth to win a championship in consecutive seasons. Spoelstra enters the
2019-20 season ranked 15th on the NBA’s all-time postseason victories list,
fourth among active coaches. In regular season play, he is currently tied
for 30th on the NBA’s all-time victories list (sixth among active coaches)
and 11th all-time (second among active coaches) in regular season win
percentage (minimum 500 games coached).
Since he took over the HEAT, only Golden State’s Steve Kerr has won more
playoff games or playoff series than Spoelstra. Under Spoelstra, the HEAT
have advanced to the playoffs in eight of his 11 seasons and have won 15 of
21 postseason series (.714 winning percentage), including a franchise-record
11 consecutive series from 2012-14. Spoelstra’s teams have a 15-6 (.714)
record when having an opponent on the brink of elimination, including a
perfect 11-0 mark at home, and a 9-6 (.600) mark when they are on the brink
of elimination. One of the keys to that success has been Miami’s dominance
at the AmericanAirlines Arena under Spoelstra. In his 11 seasons, Spoelstra’s
regular season record at the AmericanAirlines Arena is a sterling 295-148
(.666) and his postseason record at home is an even better 46-15 (.754).
The HEAT have also proven to be able to win away from home, evidenced by
fi ve straight seasons from 2009-14 that Miami posted a winning record on
the road, a fi rst in franchise history. Additionally, Miami has won at least one
postseason road game in each of its past 19 series, the second-best mark in
In a career highlighted by multiple championships, the 2016-17 campaign
might have been Spoelstra’s greatest coaching job to date. Despite leading
the league in games missed due to injury, Spoelstra guided the HEAT to the
greatest in-season turnaround in NBA history and as a result shared the
National Basketball Coaches Association inaugural Michael H. Goldberg
Coach of the Year Award with Mike D’Antoni. After compiling an 11-30 (.268)
record at the halfway point of the season, the HEAT completely reversed
course going 30-11(.732) over the fi nal 41 games to fi nish the season at .500.
Previously, no team in NBA history that was at least 19 games under .500,
at any point during the season, had ever managed to end the season at .500.
Miami fi nished with the most wins (41) in league history of any team that
had been at least 19 games under .500 at any point in a season. The HEAT’s
second half turnaround was highlighted by a 13-game winning streak from
Jan. 17-Feb. 10, the franchise’s third-longest winning streak and the longest
in NBA history by any team that was at least 19 games under .500.
Keyed by a strong defensive effort, the 2015-16 season was highlighted by
the fi fth division title in the Spoelstra era and a trip to the Eastern Conference
Semifi nals where the HEAT came within a game of advancing back to the
Eastern Conference Finals. Miami led the NBA in blocked shots during
the campaign and ranked fi fth in scoring defense and ninth in fi eld goal
The 2013-14 season saw the HEAT capture their fourth straight Eastern
Conference Championship, fourth straight Southeast Division title and their
sixth straight postseason appearance, tying the franchise record for consecutive
postseason berths. Spoelstra added to his individual accolades capturing
Coach of the Month honors for the month of February after guiding Miami to
a 9-1 record. On Feb. 23, he notched his 300th career victory against Chicago
in just his 448th game, reaching that milestone in fewer games than any
coach in franchise history.
After guiding Miami to its second NBA crown in 2012, Spoelstra and his team
knew they would get everyone’s best shot on a daily basis during the 2012-13
season and what the HEAT accomplished under Spoelstra was one of the
greatest seasons in NBA history. It was a season fi lled with highlights from
participating in a preseason tour in China to ending with a championship
celebration on the fl oor of the AmericanAirlines Arena on June 20, 2013.
Spoelstra guided the HEAT to a franchise-record 66-win regular season
which included a 27-game winning streak from Feb. 3-Mar. 25, the second
longest single-season streak in NBA history. In large part due to the winning
streak, the HEAT fi nished the second half of the 2012-13 season with a
38-3 record and lost just one game each in the months of February, March
and April. The 17-1 record in March set a franchise record for victories in any
month. As a result of the streak, Spoelstra was named the NBA Eastern
Conference Coach of the Month in both February and March becoming the
fi rst HEAT coach to receive the honors in consecutive months. The recordsetting
season also helped Spoelstra earn the honor of coaching the Eastern
Conference at the 2013 NBA All-Star Game, a fi rst in his career. The fi nal
victory in the 27-game win streak, at Orlando on Mar. 25, marked the 250th
regular season victory in Spoelstra’s career.
The 2012 championship culminated a compressed 2011-12 season in which
Miami went 46-20 and captured its second consecutive Southeast Division
title. The regular season was highlighted by a nine-game win streak (Feb.
10-Mar. 1) with each victory a double-digit win. During that streak the HEAT
became the fi rst team to win road games on three consecutive nights (Feb.
12-14) since December of 1979 and the fi rst to win each of those contests by
double-digits since the 1970-71 season.
Miami’s success during the 2011-12 campaign was driven by its defense.
The HEAT once again ranked among the top defensive teams in the NBA,
fi nishing third in steals per game, fourth in scoring defense, fourth in scoring
margin and fi fth in fi eld goal percentage defense, the third straight year
Miami ranked in the top fi ve in fi eld goal percentage defense. The HEAT also
proved dominant at home, posting a 28-5 record, which included a 17-game
home winning streak, the second longest in franchise history. The 28
home victories tied for the most in the league and the .848 home winning
percentage is the third best single-season mark in franchise history.
Spoelstra led Miami to a 58-24 regular season record, a Southeast Division
title and an Eastern Conference championship in 2010-11. The 58 wins mark
the fourth best total in franchise history and Miami’s 28 road wins tied for
the most in the NBA in 2010-11 and rank third in HEAT history. Spoelstra
earned NBA Eastern Conference Coach of the Month honors in December
after guiding the HEAT to a 15-1 record, including a perfect 10-0 mark on the
road. The 10 road victories in December set a franchise record for any month
and the HEAT established an NBA record for most consecutive road wins in a
calendar month. Defense was once again the stalwart of the HEAT’s success
as Miami led the NBA in point differential, fi nished second in defensive fi eld
goal percentage and sixth in scoring defense.
After an impressive rookie campaign, Spoelstra guided Miami to a 47-35
record in 2009-10. Under his leadership the HEAT closed the season by winning
18 of its fi nal 22 games, including a 12-3 record in March which earned him
NBA Eastern Conference Coach of the Month honors. The 2009-10 season
was one of its best defensive seasons for Miami as the HEAT allowed the
fewest fi eld goals in the NBA and fi nished second in both points allowed and
defensive fi eld goal percentage.
During his rookie season, Spoelstra led Miami to its greatest single-season
improvement. He inherited a 15-win team and directed it to a 28-win
improvement, marking the greatest improvement by a rookie head coach in
NBA history, bettering the previous record of a 20-win improvement by
Chicago’s Ed Badger during the 1976-77 season. It also marked the seventh-best
single-season improvement in NBA history by any coach. As a result of a
43-win season, the most by a head coach in his fi rst year guiding the HEAT,