Ron Rothstein, the Miami Heat Lifer who was the first head coach of the franchise as part of an illustrious career in the NBA, has been awarded the 2017 Tex Winter Assistant Coach Lifetime Impact Award by the National Basketball Coaches Association (NBCA) today.
“I would like to thank the NBCA for the honor of being chosen as this year’s recipient of the Tex Winter Assistant Coach Lifetime Impact Award. This is not only an honor, it is also a truly humbling experience,” said Rothstein in a statement.
“Over the course of my 22 years as an Assistant Coach, I have been fortunate enough to work for seven outstanding Head Coaches. It all started in 1979 when Mike Fratello recommended me to Hubie Brown, then Head Coach of the Atlanta Hawks. Hubie hired me as a part-time regional NBA scout while I was still a high school teacher and coach. My first full-time Assistant Coaching job was with Mike Fratello and the Atlanta Hawks. Following that, I joined Chuck Daly and the Detroit Pistons. Next, I rejoined Mike Fratello with the Cleveland Cavaliers, followed by Rick Carlisle and the Indiana Pacers, and then finished the last 10 years of my coaching career with the Miami Heat, working for Stan Van Gundy, Pat Riley and Erik Spoelstra. Not many Coaches get as lucky as I did to work with and for so many brilliant and successful Head Coaches. I can’t thank them enough for all that they have done for my family and me over the course of my career.
“Thanks, also, to the GM’s I have had the privilege to work for: Stan Kasten (Atlanta Hawks), the late Jack McCloskey (Detroit Pistons), Wayne Embry (Cleveland Cavaliers), Donnie Walsh/Larry Bird (Indiana Pacers) and Pat Riley (Miami Heat). Not many Coaches can put together a list like that. What a privilege it was to work for them.
“To all the players I have had the good fortune to work with, thank you for all that you have done to contribute to my success. Obviously, none of this was possible without your dedication, hard work, talent, and professionalism.
“I have been fortunate enough to have lived and worked in the NBA through the Golden Years all the way to the wildly successful years of today’s era. All my family and I can say is thank you, thank you, thank you.
“Last but not least, a huge thank you to my beautiful wife of 51 years, Olivia, who has been by my side every step of the way, and to my children and grandchildren, as well, for all their love and support.”
Over the course of 50-plus years in his career, Rothstein spent 26 years on the sidelines as a head coach or assistant coach, including joining the Heat for the first ever season in 1988 as their first head coach. Rothstein spent three seasons in Miami and was also a head coach for the Detroit Pistons and the Heat’s short-lived WNBA team the Miami Sol. He rejoined the Heat as an assistant coach under Stan Van Gundy and went on to help guide the team to three NBA championships with Pat Riley and Erik Spoelstra.
Rothstein retired from coaching and joined the Heat broadcast team in 2014, marking the end of his coaching career which included eighteen playoff appearances, nine Eastern Conference Finals appearances, six NBA Finals appearances, six Eastern Conference Championships, and three NBA championships.
“Ron Rothstein is most deserving of this prestigious recognition,” said Dallas Mavericks Head Coach and NBCA President Rick Carlisle. “Over several decades, Ronnie has helped countless players and coaches become their very best while continually helping promote the NBA game. I had the privilege to work with Coach Rothstein during the 2003-04 season. As an assistant for me in Indiana that year, Ron was a high impact contributor to our Pacers team that set a franchise record with 61 wins. More recently, Ronnie was top assistant to Erik Spoelstra during Miami's run of back to back Championships in 2012 and 2013.”