Originally written on isportsweb.com  |  Last updated 9/17/13
Filipino-American Eric Spoelstra is one of the top coaches in the NBA. Yes, you may think I’m crazy but he is and he has proven that. A lot of fans, critics, players, and media don’t respect Spoelstra as much as they should, mainly because they don’t know how much of an impact he has on the Miami Heat organization. He’s young, smart, and knows the game. He cares about his players, wants them to become great athletes, and he’s proven that. Spoelstra graduated from the University of Portland with a degree in communications. He was a basketball player and was one of the Pilots’ top players. Spoelstra was the starting point guard for four years and was named the West Coast Conference Freshman of the Year. Like many coaches, he was a player so he can relate in some way to his athletes. After he graduated he spent two years as a player and a coach for Tus Herten which is a German professional team. So how in the world did Spoelstra become part of the Miami Heat? Spoelstra was initially hired as the video coordinator for the Heat.  He then was promoted to assistant coach/video coordinator, then to assistant coach/advance scout and assistant coach/director of scouting before finally obtaining the head coaching position. He served 7 seasons as the coach/director of scouting, and had the primary role of developing game plans for upcoming opponents. It’s proven that Spoelstra knows what he’s doing. Why else would he get promoted to several positions and have all various roles for the Heat organization. During these years he was being shaped and molded into becoming one of the top coaches in the NBA. Pat Riley saw something that a lot of people didn’t see.  According to NBA.com, Spoelstra helped design and integrate a proprietary statistical database and scouting software for the Heat. Under Spoelstra, the Heat continue 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 iPads for his players. Spoelstra was Pat Riley’s first and only choice to be his replacement. That says a lot.  Spoelstra, only 38 at the time, became head coach in 2008.  Since Riley’s decision to make him head coach, the Heat have gone to the playoffs every season while making it to the NBA Finals for the last 3 years in a row. Even with all of his success, some people still say it’s the players not the coach. People think LeBron James and Dwyane Wade just use their talents every year to win championships and don’t need a coach to actually draw up plays, motivate, study the other team, and critique his own team.  One thing I like about Spoelstra is he isn’t afraid to make risky moves. He draws up plays at the end of the game that set up other players to take the game winner rather than LeBron all the time. I’ve seen him draw up plays where he knows LeBron most likely will be double teamed so he’ll give Mario Chalmers or Wade the opportunity to take the game winning shot. He has faith in his team, not just in one player. In the Finals this year, game 6, he drew up a play that resulted in Chris Bosh being in great position to block that shot to end a game that the Heat should’ve lost. To be so young, he’s had the foundation to make risky moves and be able to back them up. He’s a smart young coach and could possibly go down as one of the best of this generation. That speaks volume but his statistics don’t lie. Do you think you could coach LeBron, Wade, and Bosh to back to back championships? It’s not as easy as it looks. Having 3 big egos on the team probably isn’t easy to coach and it’s evident that it was rocky the first year they were together. For Spoelstra to figure out a way to work these 3 guys together is proof of how good he is.  
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Jaguars GM: Justin Blackmon's NFL career likely over

WATCH: Rays rookie hits first HR, gets ignored by teammates

Email shows Ravens tipped off Colts about deflated footballs

Report: Mexico in talks with Marcelo Bielsa for coaching job

Brady: Never thought about air pressure until refs inflated to 16 PSI


Report suggests C.J. Wilson’s teammates not happy he’s seeking season ending surgery

Clowney’s father arrested for attempted murder outside club

Report: L.A.-area venues wary of temporarily hosting NFL teams

Jimmy Graham to block for Marshawn 75 percent of time

Kobe Bryant not sure if 2015-16 is his final NBA season

Report: Arian Foster could be headed to injured reserve

Fabricio Werdum open to rematch with Fedor

Poker pro Daniel Negreanu wants to partially own Vegas NHL team

Penn State modernizes with new shield logo

UT preview: Why the Volunteers can win the national title

WATCH: Jordan embarrassed by camper over his shoes

Rice: 'I can understand why some people will never forgive me'

Rod Marinelli: “Fortunate” to go through 0-16 season with Lions

WATCH: Jimmy Rollins gets big ovation in return to Philly

2015 Premier League preview: Avoiding relegation

NHL and MLB Advanced Media announce $1.2 billion deal

Knicks analyst Walt Frazier isn’t very enthused about team’s chances next season

Dave Dombrowski is out as Tigers GM

NBA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

2015 Premier League preview: Avoiding relegation

Kris Bryant on changing to feet-first slide: ‘I only have one head’

MLB season in NY better than expected

Adrian Beltre gets mad when assaulted after HR

Lindsey Vonn shows support for Tiger

Notre Dame doesn't need a conference

Rex takes jabs at Jets' management

Sanchez: It's 'crazy' to call Chip racist

Ronda Rousey calls out Cyborg

Five most underrated players in the NFL

Five potential NFL salary cap casualties this preseason

Winners and losers of the 2015 MLB trade deadline

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Follow Yardbarker