Erik Spoelstra is a Filipino-American basketball coach based in the US. He stepped in as head coach of the National Basketball Association's Miami Heat after former coach and NBA Hall of Famer Pat Riley stepped down on April 28, 2008.<ref name="test1">Spoelstra named Heat's new Head coach NBA.com (accessed 29 April 2008).</ref> Spoelstra is the first Asian-American to ever coach in the NBA. At the age of 37, he is also the youngest coach in the NBA today, being 69 days younger than the New Jersey Nets' Lawrence Frank. Spoelstra has been with the Heat franchise since 2001, serving as the Assistant Coach and Director of Scouting for the basketball team.<ref name="test2">Riley resigns as Heat coach, names Spoelstra his replacement The Associated Press (accessed 29 April 2008).</ref>
Early life and career
Spoelstra was born in Portland, Oregon to Fe Celino,<ref name="test3">Erik Spoelstra: He puts the Heat on GMANews.TV (accessed 29 April 2008).</ref> a Filipina, and to Jon Spoelstra, a Dutch-Irish. His father was a top level NBA executive; having served the Portland Trail Blazers as senior vice-president and general manager and the New Jersey Nets and president.<ref name="test4">Spoelstra's effort won Riley's loyalty The Palm Beach Post (accessed 29 April 2008).</ref> Spoelstra attended college at the nearby University of Portland. He made it to the collegiate basketball team there, earning the starting point guard slot and keeping it for four straight years. He avaraged 9.2 points, 4.4 assists, and 2.4 rebounds per game in his college career and was named the West Coast Conference Freshman of the Year in his first season.<ref name="test3">Erik Spoelstra: He puts the Heat on GMANews.TV (accessed 29 April 2008).</ref> Spoelstra graduated from the University in 1992 with a degree in communications. After graduation, he spent two years in Germany, and worked first as a player, then as a coach, for Tus Herten, a German professional basketball team.
Joining the Miami Heat
Spoelstra spent his first two seasons in Miami, from 1995 to 1997, as the Heat's Video Coordinator, heading the information technology department of the team. He was in charge of preparing scouting tapes for the coaching staff. He made it to the team’s coaching staff as an assistant in 1997. Two years later, he was appointed Advance Scout, whose primary role was to develop schemes and game plans for the team's upcoming opponents. In addition, he was given responsibility over the Heat’s Individual Player Development Program. He has also been involved with the Heat’s summer league squad, doing head coach duty in the summers of 2005, 2006, and 2007. <ref name="test5">Erik Spoelstra - Coach Profile NBA.com (accessed 29 April 2008).</ref>