By Richard Nurse @blackirishpr on September 1, 2014
The Miami Heat have been blessed not to have had many coaches in their soon to be 26-year history. Call it a result of stability, success, a lack of years or maybe even all three, but the team has been responsible for introducing fans to leading men and extending the careers of others.
Here's a look at the top five coaches in the Heat's history.
No slight to Ron Rothstein, but Alvin Gentry’s interim stint as head coach fielded a better win percentage (.417) than his .232.
Granted, Rothstein had 210 more chances to lose as the inaugural coach of the Miami Heat franchise. However, who is to say that Gentry would not have tucked more wins under his belt if it were not for a guy named Pat Riley bumping out of his first coaching gig?
As the Miami Heat’s second head coach, Kevin Loughery was responsible for the team’s first two playoff appearances in 1992 and 1995.
Although his postseason runs were not successful, they were the organization’s first taste of things to come.
After starting with Riley in 1995, Stan Van Gundy took over as head coach in 2003 and led Miami to a surprisingly deep second-round run behind rookie sensation Dwyane Wade.
Following another successful postseason trip with Shaquille O'Neal and Wade, Van Gundy resigned from the position for personal reasons, but not until he cemented himself in franchise history with a .606 playoff and regular season win percentage.
To some Erik Spoelstra's known as Pat Riley’s hand-picked man. To others, he's the coach who benefited from the Big Three. But coach Spo took the team to the playoffs with two 43-plus win seasons before his All-Star team was ever assembled.
Four years later, the man of mystery has two NBA titles, four straight Finals appearances, the league’s second-longest win streak (27) and the team's top win percentages in the regular and postseasons.
As the architect of the Miami Heat mystique, Pat Riley has not only had two winning tenures as head coach, but he is responsible for grooming Van Gundy and Spoelstra into the franchise’s top skippers.
The Hall of Famer is also responsible for bringing the Heat their first NBA Championship and setting the foundation for the culture in which they now thrive. That’s enough to make him No. 1, even without his stats as President.
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