Erik Spoelstra was named head coach of the Miami Heat after 13 years on the Miami Heat coaching staff. This is significant because Spoelstra is the first APA-American (Asian-Pacific-Islander) and Fil-Am (Filipino-American) to reach the level of head coach of an NBA franchise. At age 37, he will also be the NBA’s youngest coach. (Discuss in our Philippines Basketball Forum)
“A lot of people bring a lot of what he has to the table, but what you don’t understand about Spoelstra is that he’s a basketball junkie. He really studies the game, he wants to get better and he wants to win. I don’t think there’s a better X’s and O’s guy out there. He’s been under coach’s wing for some time now and it’s time to see how he can fly.” said Keith Askin, a Heat assistant coach
“Spo,” as he is known around the organization, started in 1995 as a video cooredinator before rising up the ranks as Assistant Coach, Advance Scout, and Director of Scouting. Erik takes over for the legendary Pat Riley afer he stepped down and the Miami Heat were the worst team in the NBA.
Spoelstra grew up in Oregon as a talented guard. He eventually attended the University of Portland was the starting point guard for four years and was named the West Coast Conference Freshman of the Year. After leaving Portland, Spoelstra spent two seasons as a player/coach for Tus Herten, a team in the German professional sports league.
Sources and other links: Spoelstra rises up every rung of Heat ladder to take over (USA Today), Erik Spoelstra- First Filipino-American Coach in the NBA? (Ibn Forum), Philippines basketball forum