Pat Riley resigns as heat coach

posse08posse08 loyal green archer PExer
Associated Press
MIAMI -- Pat Riley resigned as coach of the Miami Heat less than a week before the start of the NBA season, opting Friday to try to rebuild the team from the front office only.

Riley ranks second in NBA history with 1,110 victories, and he led the Los Angeles Lakers to four championships in the 1980s.

But the Heat missed the playoffs the past two years, finishing at the bottom of the Atlantic Division at 25-57 last season -- Riley's worst record in 21 years as an NBA head coach.

"There was no way I could go upstairs until I thought this thing was on solid ground," Riley said. "It's time for another voice. I strongly believe that."

While he stays on as team president, Riley will be replaced as coach by Stan Van Gundy, his top assistant the past several seasons and the brother of Houston Rockets coach Jeff Van Gundy. They're just the second set of brothers to coach in the NBA; Herb and Larry Brown did so in the 1970s.

"I still at this point have not told my kids, my parents. I haven't told my brother, because I was still sort of half-expecting he would change his mind," Stan Van Gundy said. "He had mentioned it to me on Wednesday. I didn't even tell my wife. ...

"It came as very much a surprise."

The Heat's first game is Tuesday at Philadelphia; players were told of Riley's decision Friday.

"The transition for the players will be a little difficult," Van Gundy said. "It will be different."

Riley said he made the decision at 5 a.m. Wednesday after convincing himself that the rebuilding process was advanced enough.

"I've been looking forward to the day that I could run an organization without the pressures of having to coach, too," Riley said. "As a matter of fact, this summer I probably spent most of my time, all of my time, managing and not coaching. So it's time. It's time for that move. And I knew I'd get to it eventually."

Riley, 58, was voted one of the top 10 coaches in NBA history in 1996.

His 21 seasons running NBA teams include from 1981-90 with the Lakers, 1991-95 with the New York Knicks and 1995-03 with Miami. He was the NBA's Coach of the Year in 1990, 1993 and 1997.

Riley led the "Showtime" Lakers of Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to the 1982, 1985, 1987 and 1988 league titles. With the Knicks, he had more of a defense-oriented, bruising team that lost to Houston in the 1994 NBA Finals.

With the Heat, though, Riley never duplicated that sort of success. His Miami teams lost in the first round of the playoffs four times, and only made it as far as the Eastern Conference finals once, losing to Michael Jordan's Chicago Bulls in 1997.

Memphis Grizzlies president Jerry West, who was the Lakers' general manager during Riley's tenure there, said he was stunned by the news.

"He will be missed," West said. "As a friend, I hope this is a start to a new life that will bring home as much satisfaction to him as his enormous coaching career. He is a Hall of Fame coach, for sure, and I wish him the best."

Van Gundy was a college head coach for eight seasons, three at Castleton State, four at UMass-Lowell and one at Wisconsin.


  • posse08posse08 loyal green archer PExer
    What do you think guys? More playing time kaya ito for Rafer and the younger guys? Hmm ok ito ah pag naglaban ang rockets and heat brother vs borther I heard that Jeff is very happy for his brother.
  • neth_rowneth_row Moderator ✭✭
    I's about time. Pat Riley is old school. I haven't watched too many Heat games for the past two years, pero hindi naman ganun ka-panget lineup nila.
  • carshowcarshow The Generator PExer
    Tama, di naman sya mawawalan ng trabaho..madaming concerns din yan tyak as front office top honcho...baka sakaling magbago ihip ng hangin pag me bagong coach
  • nitonito Member PExer
    I think Pat Riley should have stuck to his showtime, fastbreak approach, his Miami team was boring to watch with a half court set up. The defense was there, pero not enough points to light up the score board.
  • ateneo10ateneo10 buying Magic cards PM me PExer
    lamar said it: he would have not gone to any other team coz he liked how pat chased him...

    and now he quits after he signs the guy... sheesh!
  • ateneo10ateneo10 buying Magic cards PM me PExer
    Originally posted by posse08
    What do you think guys? More playing time kaya ito for Rafer and the younger guys?

    rebuilding time. maybe they wanna chase the lottery like cleaveland and denver did this year...

    more playing time would be smart... i would do it if i were coach...

    i mean, its not exactly a playoff team i have, but i have so much cap space...


    four of the better swing men on one team... and if the benchies get their playing time, especially the big ones... and develop, baka puede next year... mismatch the whole east to death!
  • shox920shox920 Slightly Green Minded ✭✭
    Bopols lang talaga miami heat...isama pa yung injury ni Zo in the last 2 years...

    nung 1994 they (knicks) should have won the title kung hindi lang nagbwakaw si John starks puro sablay naman ang mga 3 pts shooting nya
  • kidcharlemagnekidcharlemagne no day but today... PExer
    pat riley must be credited for being a system coach and player's coach at the same time. he once said in an interview that his system is defined by his players, which means he retools his philosophy according to the core strengths of his current roster. one of the greatest basketball minds ever.

    he got burned, however, when he built his team around alonzo mourning and awarded him the megabuck contract that effectively hindered his ability to get top-tier free agents to complement his main man. his system was predicated by good man-to-man defense and accurate long-range bombing to soften the inside; it must have tormented him no end when the heat weren't able to do either the last two seasons.

    i don't know how stan van gundy will fare as a head coach, but knowing how elder brother jeff turned out, i bet he'll build on riley's legacy of riley of tough, no-nonsense yet fundamental basketball.

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