Erik Spoelstra’s gigantic new contract is richest in American sports history

Erik Spoelstra’s gigantic new contract is richest in American sports history

Erik Spoelstra is now the proud owner of the biggest coaching contract in NBA history. The Miami Heat inked their head coach to an eight-year, $120 million extension on Tuesday night. It’s the biggest contract any head coach has ever signed for in American professional sports, according to ESPN.

The biggest NBA coaching contract before Spoelstra’s extension belonged to Monty Williams, who signed a six-year, $78.5 million deal with the Detroit Pistons over the summer. Williams reportedly rebuffed Detroit initially until they gave him what was at the time a record deal. Williams set the bar for elite NBA coaches to be played like starting caliber players, and Spoelstra cleared it with ease.

Spoelstra will be paid $15 million per season with this deal. Only the top NFL coaches make more money annually than Spoelstra, but none have received as much total money. New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick made $20 million per year, Denver Broncos coach Sean Payton makes $18 million, and Pete Carroll makes $15 million with the Seattle Seahawks.

Spoelstra is in his 16th season as the Heat’s head coach. He’s won two NBA championships, and made four other appearances in the NBA Finals. The fact that Spoelstra has reached the NBA Finals in 40 percent of his seasons over a 15-year career coming into this season is just astounding.

Spoelstra started as a video coordinator with the franchise in 1995. He quickly worked his way up to assistant coach, and by 2008 became head coach as the hand-picked successor for Pat Riley. Two years later, Riley signed LeBron James and Chris Bosh to the Heat as free agents, and Spoelstra suddenly found himself coaching the most glamorous ‘big three’ in league history. There have been rumors over the years that James wanted Spo fired after the team lost in the 2011 NBA Finals, but Miami would win back-to-back championships starting with the next season. Spo became one of the most acclaimed coaches in the game during that run.

Spoelstra led the Heat to the NBA Finals last season as a No. 8 seed out of the Eastern Conference in one of the greatest coaching jobs of his career. The Heat are currently 21-15 this season.

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