Spolestra: I'm Still An Oregonian, Blazers Fan
HOUSTON – Miami Heat Head Coach Erik Spoelstra along with former Oregon Ducks Head Football Coach Chip Kelly were co-recipients of the Slats Gill Sportsperson of the Year Award at the 61st annual Oregon Sports Awards last Sunday.
Spoelstra, 42, was raised in Portland and attended Jesuit High School and later the University of Portland where he was a four-year starter and member of the school's 1000-point club.
His most recent accomplishment was guiding the Heat to their second NBA Finals championship during the 2011-12 season. The humble Coach Spoelstra gives all the credit to his ball club.
“Certainly I understand that it's our team success that allowed something like that to happen,” Spoelstra said to CSNNW.com. “I'm from Oregon so that means a lot. I still feel like an Oregonian. I hope they see me as an Oregonian. I grew up there and I still support all the Oregon athletics.
“It was somewhat ironic that Chip Kelly and I shared that award because he has become a friend, but I'm also a big time Oregon Ducks fan. So that was kind of cool.”
It's good to see that Spoelstra hasn't forgotten about where he came from considering he spends most of his days in beautiful South Beach.
Growing up, Spoelstra was a Trail Blazer fan. His father, Jon Spoelstra, was the Trail Blazers' EVP/GM in the 1980s and that's when Erik developed a deep love for the organization.
“Yeah, it's hard not to be [a fan of the Trail Blazers growing up],” Spoelstra said. “It's the only pro sports team in town. My dad worked for the Blazers and I was die hard Blazer guy starting when Jack Ramsay was the head coach. I got to know him when I was a little kid and it's been a lot fun now getting to know him now that he's one of you (media) and now I'm sitting where he used to sit in.”
Jon, to this day, resides in Portland. I asked Erik why is it that his pops hasn't jumped ship to Miami?
He laughed before saying, “He likes to visit three or four times a year. He likes to come out during the winter. He enjoys the games and he also loves DIRECTV. So he likes to watch the games from Portland. Portlanders are tough to get out of town.”
And that could be said about Erik Spoelstra, too. He's out of town in Miami, but his heart is still here in Portland.
Spoelstra is the Head Coach of the 2012-13 Eastern Conference All-Star team.