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Pat Riley

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Patrick James "Pat" Riley (born March 20, 1945) is an American National Basketball Association head coach and team president of the Miami Heat. Widely regarded as one of the greatest NBA coaches of all time, Riley has served as the head coach of five championship teams and an assistant coach to another. He most recently won the 2006 NBA Championship with the Miami Heat. Prior to his tenure in Miami, he served as head coach for the Los Angeles Lakers and the New York Knicks. He also played for the Los Angeles Lakers' championship team in 1972, which brings his personal total to seven NBA titles.

Six games into the 1981-82 season, Magic Johnson began to publicly say he was unhappy playing for Westhead. Lakers' owner Jerry Buss immediately called a press conference and fired Westhead, and then immediately named general manager Jerry West head coach. West, at the conference, refused the job on the spot. Buss then turned to Riley and asked, "Do you want the job?" Riley reluctantly agreed, but only if West would sit on the bench for a few games until he felt comfortable.

In 1997, the Heat defeated his old team, the Knicks, in a physical seven game series. Advancing to the Eastern Conference finals for the first time in franchise history, they proved no match for Jordan and his Bulls. Riley was selected as Coach of the Year for the third time, after leading Miami to a 61–21 regular season record, 1st in the Atlantic division.

The move came as a shock to the basketball community, with some speculating that with Shaquille O'Neal returning from injury, Dwyane Wade having his best season yet, and a high-caliber roster including Gary Payton, Jason Williams and Antoine Walker, Riley wanted to try to regain his former glory by coaching Miami to its first NBA Championship. Riley's Heat team defeated his Los Angeles Lakers-days nemesis, the Detroit Pistons, in the 2006 Eastern Conference playoffs on June 2, 2006, making it the first time the Miami Heat reached the finals. Riley's Heat squared off against the Dallas Mavericks in the 2006 NBA Finals. Despite losing the first two games to Dallas, the Heat rallied to win the final four games and their first NBA Championship. It was Riley's fifth championship as a head coach. He joined Alex Hannum and Phil Jackson as the only coaches to coach two different teams to NBA titles. He also became the only coach to twice replace a coach in mid-season and take that team to an NBA title.

On January 3, 2007 Riley announced that he would take an indefinite leave of absence from coaching due to ongoing "hip and knee problems". Assistant coach Ron Rothstein had assumed interim duties until Riley's return on February 19, 2007.


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