Riley resigns as Heat coach

Hall of Famer to stay with team as president

37-year-old Spoelstra to take over bench

Nba Notes

April 29, 2008

Pat Riley resigned yesterday as coach of the Miami Heat but will remain team president.

Erik Spoelstra, a 37-year-old assistant, will succeed the Hall of Famer and become the NBA's youngest current coach. Spoelstra has never been a head coach at any level outside the NBA's summer league.

Miami finished the season with the NBA's poorest record (15-67) and by far the worst of Riley's 25-year career.

"I look forward to the challenge," said Spoelstra, who received word of the decision over the weekend.

As president, Riley will continue overseeing the plan to rebuild a franchise that is just two years removed from a championship, after deciding he would best benefit the franchise by working exclusively from the front office.

The on-court duties now belong to Spoelstra, who started in the Heat video room in 1995.

"I believe Erik Spoelstra is one of the most talented young coaches to come around in a long time," Riley said

Spoelstra indicated he would like to keep assistants Ron Rothstein, Bob McAdoo and Keith Askins.

Riley finishes his career with 1,210 victories, third most in NBA history behind Lenny Wilkens and Don Nelson. He won seven championships, five as a head coach, one as an assistant and one as a player, and will be inducted into the Hall of Fame on Sept. 5.

Bobcats -- Larry Brown reached an agreement to return to the NBA as Charlotte's coach, a person familiar with the decision told the Associated Press. The person, speaking on condition of anonymity because an official announcement has not been made, said Brown was expected to sign a contract today. Brown replaces Sam Vincent, fired Saturday after going 32-50 in one season. It will be Brown's ninth NBA team and his first coaching job since his messy exit from the Knicks in 2006.

Obituary -- Will Robinson, the first black basketball coach at a Division I school and a Pistons scout who discovered Joe Dumars and Dennis Rodman, died yesterday. He was 96. Robinson died at a Detroit hospital, Pistons spokesman Matt Dobek said. Robinson had been sick for 15 months and in a nursing home for more than a year, Dobek added. Robinson broke a racial barrier in the 1970s when he coached Illinois State. He joined the Pistons as a scout in 1976, and the additions of Dumars and Rodman were keys to Detroit's 1989 and 1990 NBA championships. Robinson scouted for the Pistons for 28 years and scouted part time for the NFL's Detroit Lions for 22 years.

Celtics -- Forward Paul Pierce was fined $25,000 by the NBA for flashing a hand gesture toward Atlanta's Al Horford and attempting to stare him down in the fourth quarter of Boston's 102-93 loss to the Hawks on Saturday.

Et cetera -- Byron Scott, who led the Hornets to their first playoff appearance in four years this season, has been chosen as the NBA Coach of the Year, a source told the Associated Press. ... Magic forward Hedo Turkoglu has been selected the NBA's Most Improved Player. ... Jason Kidd won't be suspended for his flagrant foul on New Orleans' Jannero Pargo, meaning Dallas will have its starting point guard tonight when it tries to avoid elimination in Game 5.

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