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article imageMiami Heat Coach Erik Spoelstra gets contract extension

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By Leo Reyes     Dec 17, 2011 in Sports
Miami Head Coach Erik Spoelstra was granted a contract extension and for another chance to lead Miami Heat to the NBA Finals after failing to stop the Dallas Mavericks last year.
Spoelstra's contract with Miami Heat is about to expire as the team prepares for another shot at the Finals. The Big Three remain in Miami - LeBron James, Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh.
The 41-year-old coach has been with Miami Heath for the past 17 years, starting out as video coordinator, rising up to Assistant Coach over the years until Pat Riley, the former Head Coach handed him the head coaching job for the then worst performing team in the NBA.
"We have one of the great young coaches in the league and (he) is an absolute member of this family," Heat president Pat Riley said. "He's the perfect coach for this team now. The reason why we did it was to extend him and keep him in the family and (not) have somebody come steal him away from us."
NBA's most popular star Lebron James, who joined the Heat last year, said his relationship with coach Spoelstra has improved since the day he practiced with the team.
"Me and Erik, our relationship will continue to grow," James said this week. "It's much better today than it was the first day of practice last year. We didn't know each other at all. We were still learning each other. We'd seen each other from a distance. I'd seen him coach from the sideline ... he'd seen me play while he was coaching from the sideline. Our relationship is really good right now. I'm happy with where we are right now."
Prior to last year's impressive performance by the team, the management has been doing cost-cutting measures which resulted in downward adjustment in Spoelstra's salary, effectively making him one of the lowest-paid basketball coaches in the NBA.
Although the pay rate was not disclosed in the contract extension announcement, it is assumed that his new salary will be upgraded as Miami Heat continue to draw more revenues as a result of the club's awesome performance last year.
Spoelstra, whose mother is from the Philippines, grew up in Oregon and attended the University of Portland where he obtained his college degree.
The Filipino-American coach served as Portland's point guard for four years, averaging 9.2 points per game. He was later named West Coast Conference Freshman of the Year.
Spoelstra has regularly traveled to the Philippines to do basketball clinics for basketball aspiring kids in Manila and the countryside.
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