View Full Version : ESPN: Heat coach Van Gundy resigns

12-12-2005, 09:38 AM
Source: Heat coach Van Gundy resigns

Associated Press

MIAMI -- Miami Heat coach Stan Van Gundy, who led the team to the best record in the Eastern Conference a season ago, resigned Monday citing family reasons.

A team official, speaking on condition of anonymity because the decision had not been made public, told The Associated Press that Van Gundy's resignation would be announced later Monday.

The team called a news conference for 11 a.m. EST, saying Van Gundy, team president and former coach Pat Riley, and Heat owner Micky Arison would appear.

It was not immediately clear who would replace Van Gundy, but indications were Riley, who chose him as his successor a little more than two years ago, could return to the sideline.

Van Gundy's job status has been the subject of speculation in South Florida for months, starting when Riley -- his mentor -- said shortly after the Heat's 2005 playoff run ended that he decide to take a larger role in the team's day-to-day operations.

That comment, which seemed innocuous at the time, set off a storm of speculation that Riley was planning to dismiss Van Gundy and take over a team with two of the NBA's biggest stars, Shaquille O'Neal and Dwyane Wade.

Riley and Van Gundy eventually met for nearly four hours in mid-July. Van Gundy emerged from that session saying he was assured that he'd remain Heat coach.

But the team has struggled in its first 21 games, going 11-10, albeit without O'Neal for 18 of them while the 12-time All-Star nursed a sprained right ankle. Still, it wasn't the start anybody expected from a team built to contend for an NBA championship.


12-12-2005, 09:44 AM
MIAMI -- Two years after stepping down as Heat coach, team president Pat Riley is on the verge of resuming the position.

The Heat has called an 11 a.m. Monday media conference at AmericanAirlines Arena, where Riley is expected to take over for Stan Van Gundy, who has led the Heat deep into the playoffs in his two seasons with the franchise.

Van Gundy, meanwhile, has resigned, a team source told the Associated Press around 9 a.m.

The Heat is 11-10 and in first place in the Southeast Division of the Eastern Conference. The team on Sunday regained the services of Shaquille O'Neal, after the All-Star center missed the previous 18 games with a sprained right ankle.

Preliminary word was Van Gundy was stepping down due to personal reasons.

Riley stands third on the NBA's all-time victory list among coaches at 1,110, behind only retired coaches Lenny Wilkens (1,332) and Don Nelson (1,190). His career coaching winning percentage of .661 would put him third among active coaches, behind only Phil Jackson and Gregg Popovich.

Riley previously had vehemently denied that would include a return as coach in place of Van Gundy.

But Riley also has made it clear, with his offseason overhaul of his roster, that he would have a more active involvement with the team this season.

In the offseason, Riley traded swingman Eddie Jones and forward Rasual Butler and added guards Jason Williams and Gary Payton and forwards James Posey and Antoine Walker.

On the eve of the season, Riley said of having a more active involvement, "I built something here for 10 years. I sure as hell don't want to just walk away from it."

During that same period, Van Gundy said he believed Riley would remain solely in his front-office position.

"Bottom line is that we are all on the same page, and we are going forward with this team, a team that has the chance to be great," he said. "That is where our focus is."

Nonetheless, Van Gundy continued to work as the lone current coach toiling under a Hall of Fame-caliber sideline presence in his own front office.

Even with Riley only in the front office, Heat players had continued to refer to him as "coach."

"It's just a respect factor," guard Dwyane Wade said in the preseason, now given his first opportunity to play directly under Riley.

Van Gundy went 101-63 in his first two seasons as coach, guiding the Heat to the Eastern Conference semifinals in 2004 and within two minutes of last season's NBA Finals, before losing in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals to the Detroit Pistons.

Asked his thoughts on a possible return by Riley, former Knicks, Pacers and Spurs coach Bob Hill, now a Sonics assistant, said, "I don't think Pat would ever consider coming back unless that whole thing fell apart. In which case, I think everybody would understand that should be done."

Riley, though, had steadfastly denied the possibility.

"It absolutely undermines Stan, just the notion," he said before the start of the season. "The fact that I've won a lot of games, the fact that I coached a 22-year career, I'm here, I'm where I'm at. That's the typical reaction on the part of a lot of people."

Riley often has been regular at practice at AmericanAirlines Arena, watching from a folding chair well away from the action, retreating to his office before reporters can approach.

Asked about the Riley-Van Gundy dynamic, center Alonzo Mourning said before the season, "I think it's two men who are concerned about this organization. I think that's a bonus for us. I would like to think Stan would welcome Riles' input. I don't see any strain there at all."

But, in the next breath, Mourning said he understood the speculation, considering Riley had guided the Los Angeles Lakers to four championships earlier in his career, before his stops in New York and then South Florida.

"I see the controversy built up because of the fact there's a possibility of Riles coming back. That's big news for everybody," he said. "But I know Riles trusts Stan to do the job, otherwise he would have never put him there. At the same time, he knows in order for this organization to be successful, Stan hasn't really been there. Pat Riley has been there."

12-12-2005, 09:45 AM
Personal/family reasons, right. Screw Riley for forcing Van Gundy's hand.

12-12-2005, 10:15 AM
...Pat Riley is on the verge of resuming the position.
Looks like Stan is the one assuming the position.

Whaddaya bet one of Riles' first moves is to jettison Walker.

12-12-2005, 10:33 AM
Riley is the one who brought Walker on board so hopefully he has to live with him too. Surely no team would take him on after watching him kill another team.

You gotta love how Riley just happens to take over 1 game after Shaq's return.

12-12-2005, 10:48 AM
walker is the biggest championship killer in the world. I will say this if somebody can handle him it is Riley

12-12-2005, 11:06 AM
I'm not sure why anyone is surprised by this at all.

12-12-2005, 11:19 AM
I'm not sure why anyone is surprised by this at all.

I'm more surprised it took this long.

12-12-2005, 11:40 AM
Poor Clemons...... I mean Van Gundy.

12-12-2005, 11:53 AM

12-12-2005, 01:12 PM
I'm not sure why anyone is surprised by this at all.

I was wondering what the exuse was going to be.

12-12-2005, 11:59 PM
I thought this move would've occurred last season. Expected it. Riley got his hands on Shaq and ever since then he's been wanting a seat on that bench as coach. Stan Van Gundy should find another job. Maybe even this year sort of like George Karl did last season.