Erik Spoelstra life and biography

Erik Spoelstra picture, image, poster

Erik Spoelstra biography

Date of birth : 1970-11-01
Date of death : -
Birthplace : Evanston, Illinois, U.S.
Nationality : American
Category : Sports
Last modified : 2011-03-30
Credited as : Basketball coach NBA, head coach of the Miami Heat, NBA Draft

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Erik Spoelstra is an American professional basketball coach and the current head coach of the National Basketball Association'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.

Erik Spoelstra begins his third season as head coach of the HEAT and his 16th within the organization. He was elevated to his current position on April 28, 2008 when HEAT President Pat Riley stepped down as head coach, and made him the league’s youngest head coach. In his first two seasons, Spoelstra has led Miami to a 90-74 record and consecutive postseason appearances.

During his rookie season, despite having one of the NBA’s youngest rosters, Spoelstra led Miami to its greatest single-season improvement in franchise history. He took a 15-win team from the previous season and directed them to a 28-win improvement, marking the greatest single-season improvement by a rookie head coach in NBA history, bettering the previous record of a 20-win improvement by Chicago Bulls Head Coach 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 first year guiding the HEAT, Spoelstra led Miami to the 2009 NBA Playoffs. The 2009 postseason appearance made Miami just the second team in NBA history to win 15-or-fewer games one year and make the postseason the next, joining the 1968-69 San Diego Rockets.

He followed that impressive debut with a 47-35 record during the 2009-10 season and another trip to the playoffs. Miami recorded 23 road wins, the fourth most in franchise history, including eight straight to finish the season. Under Spoelstra’s leadership the HEAT closed the season by winning 18 of its final 22 games, including a 12-3 record in March which earned him NBA Eastern Conference Coach of the Month honors. Known for his defensive mindset, Spoelstra led Miami to one of its best defensive seasons ever, allowing the fewest field goals (2,813) in the NBA during the 2009-10 season and finishing second in both points allowed (94.2) and field goal percentage allowed (.439).

Before taking over the reigns as the sixth head coach in franchise history, Spoelstra had served the HEAT in a number of roles in his first 13 years. He originally was hired as video coordinator and over the years was promoted to assistant coach/video coordinator, assistant coach/advance scout and assistant coach/director of scouting before ascending to his current position. He made a name for himself around the league with his game preparation and superb attention to detail. In his seven seasons as the HEAT’s assistant coach/director of scouting. he had the primary role of developing game plans for Miami’s upcoming opponents. To that end, he coordinated the video staff and advance scouts while overseeing the development of scouting reports and videos.

Spoelstra has earned the respect of players throughout the league with a strong reputation as a teacher over the years by heading the HEAT’s Individual Player Development Program. As an assistant coach, where he also served for three seasons (2005-07) as the head coach of the HEAT’s summer league team, and as the HEAT’s head man now, he has worked tirelessly with many of Miami’s young players in areas of fundamentals, skill development and shooting. This consistent emphasis of fundamentals contributed to the HEAT setting a franchise-record in 2008-09 for fewest turnovers in a season, committing 96 fewer turnovers than the previous franchise record, and then responding the following season with the second fewest turnovers in a season.

Additionally, Spoelstra helped design and integrate a proprietary statistical database and scouting software for the HEAT. Under Spoelstra, the HEAT continues to embrace the use of technology and continues to use the state-of-the-art statistical software to evaluate team productivity, individual player productivity and trends for both the HEAT and the team’s opponents. That use of technology as a teaching tool also included putting the team’s video playbook on iPods for his players.

In 1992, he graduated from the University of Portland with a degree in communications. While attending Portland, Spoelstra was the starting point guard for four years and was named the West Coast Conference Freshman of the Year in 1989. Upon graduating he spent two years as a player/coach for Tus Herten, a team in the professional sports league of Germany.

A team member of the NBA FIT initiative, Spoelstra takes pride in encouraging families to engage in physical activity and healthy living practices with their children. Additionally, he created “Spo’s Shooters”, in conjuction with the Miami HEAT Community Education Ticket Program. This program reaches out to South Florida’s less fortunate student-athletes and gives them the opportunity to enjoy HEAT games and meet their favorite HEAT players and role models.

Raised in Portland, Spoelstra, who was inducted into the Jesuit High School Athletic Hall of Fame in September 2009, is the first Asian/Filipino-American head coach in any of the major North American sports leagues. He has returned to his native Philippines each of the past two summers with the NBA and U.S. State Department to host clinics and promote education, health and wellness to thousands of at-risk youth.


Spoelstra is the son of Jon Spoelstra, a long-time NBA executive who has guided the Portland Trail Blazers, Denver Nuggets, Buffalo Braves and New Jersey Nets. His grandfather, Watson, was a Detroit Tigers beat writer for many years.

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