Erik Spoelstra becomes more of a rarity with each coaching firing.
Former Heat coach Stan Van Gundy and the Pistons parted ways today, pushing the number to eight teams that have fired their coach since the start of last season.
More than half of the teams have changed coaches in the last two years and more could come as the playoffs progress. This despite no coaching changes from the end of the 2016-17 season to the start of 2017-18.
Since Spoelstra’s first season as the Heat coach in 2008-09, there have been 131 coaching changes in the league, including interim coaches, and the five remaining openings that will be filled in the coming weeks.
Spoelstra, 47, just completed his 10th season in Miami. The Nets have had nine different coaches and Kings have had eight during that span.
Only San Antonio and Dallas have not changed coaches since Spoelstra’s first season. The Spurs’ Gregg Popovich is the lone head coach who has been with his current team longer than Spoelstra. Spoelstra was hired April 28, 2008, 11 days before the Mavericks put Rick Carlisle in charge.
Popovich has been coaching the Spurs since Dec. 10, 1996.
Spoelstra has credited his longevity to the organization’s stability. Owner Micky Arison and president Pat Riley have run the organization for the last 28 years.
“I’m in one of the most fortunate situations in the league,” Spoelstra once said. “No matter what’s going on with our team I’m always able to quickly get back to a sense of gratitude. I see how unique this organization (is) and my bosses are compared to the rest of the league.”
Van Gundy, who worked for the Heat for 11 seasons, including a little more than two years as a head coach in which Spoelstra was on his staff, was fired today as the head of basketball operations and head coach.
If Van Gundy fills one of the four other openings, it would be his fourth head coaching job, third since Spoelstra took over in Miami. Van Gundy was the Magic head coach from the 2007-08 season until the 2011-12 season.