Erik Spoelstra Criticizes State of Coaching, Feels Grateful to Be with Heat

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MIAMI, FL - MAY 6: Head Coach Erik Spoelstra of the Miami Heat addresses the media after the game against the Brooklyn Nets. After Game One of the Eastern Conference Semifinals of the 2014 NBA playoffs at American Airlines Arena in Miami, Florida on May 6, 2014. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2014 NBAE (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)

After Frank Vogel was fired by the Indiana Pacers on Thursday, Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra didn’t sound too happy about the move.

For a span of three years, the Heat and Pacers were involved in the Eastern Conference’s biggest rivalry. From 2012 until 2014, both teams met in the playoffs each year. Although the Heat prevailed in each of those series, it didn’t come easy—neither of those series went less than six games.

Needless to say, Spoelstra is pretty familiar with Vogel’s skills as a head coach. Following Thursday’s shootaround in preparation for Miami’s game versus the Toronto Raptors, Spoelstra commented on the Pacers’ decision to move on from Vogel:

“That’s very disturbing actually. I’ve only been the head coach for eight years. What am I, the second-longest tenured? That’s a sad state of where the coaching profession is right now, and instability of organizations.”

The 46-year-old head coach is correct—he is the second-longest tenured coach in the NBA after the San Antonio Spurs’ Gregg Popovich. Spoelstra became head coach of the Heat prior to the 2008-09 season.

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The two-time NBA champion head coach cited how grateful he is to have worked for such a loyal organization over the past 21 years:

“That’s why it’s fairly easy for me to feel grateful. I’ve been a part of this organization for 21 years. Same group. When we say it’s a family, we are. We’ve been through everything. We’ve been through 15-win seasons together. We’ve put together teams, rebuilt teams. We know how each other will respond in the trenches when it’s tough. But you have to be able to also have opportunities to grow with a team and go through the tough times. You don’t get an opportunity when you’re making changes all the time. I probably would have been fired two or three times in a different organization.”

Part of the reason the Heat have been the most successful franchise in the Eastern Conference over the past decade has been the stability within the organization. President Pat Riley has been with the team since 1995, the same year Spoelstra was hired. Since that time, Miami has advanced to five NBA Finals and won three of them.

While other teams continue to hire new coaches on an almost annual basis, the Heat remain the same as they’ve ever been. Although Miami may not win a championship every year, Heat Nation should definitely be thankful that they have the type of continuity that organizations can only dream of.
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D.J. Siddiqi grew up in the heart of South Florida in Broward County. Growing up in South Florida during the late 90's and 2000's, D.J. witnessed the Pat Riley years where the Miami Heat faced off with the New York Knicks all the way to the painful late 2000's seasons where the Heat were a one-man team with Dwyane Wade. D.J. has closely followed the Heat over the past decade-and-a-half, and unfortunately witnessed Game 2 of the 2011 NBA Finals in person when the Dallas Mavericks overcame a 15-point deficit to knock off the Heat. D.J. has writing experience as a columnist with sites such as Bleacher Report and Rant Sports, and he is proud to bring his knowledge of the Heat and the NBA to Heat Nation.