Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Pat Riley steps down as Heat coach

But is it really the end of Pat Riley's coaching career?

Chris Sheridan of ESPN.com wonders if Riley will be back.
He often says one thing about his intentions but ends up going in a different direction, so we can't help but take the finality of his farewell address with a grain of salt.

"I'm officially retired. Is that good enough?" Riley replied when asked if he was totally, completely shutting the door on a possible return to coaching, sometime or somewhere down the road.

Then Riley let out one of those nervous chuckles that were a constant throughout his 30-minute news conference, a chuckle that Riley had to let out because even he knows the inherent absurdity of taking anything he says as an absolute.

Riley let out a similar laugh back in early October when I spent a couple days in Miami covering the Heat's training camp. I asked him why he had made the public three-year commitment to continuing as coach, and he explained it was his way of keeping the question of his future from arising at different times over the course of the season.
Here's a timeline of his career.

Riley turned down a football scholarship from Alabama's Bear Bryant to play hoops for Kentucky.

In his three-year varsity career, he averaged 18.3 points and 8.4 boards for the Wildcats and won the team's MVP award each season.

Playing for the legendary Adolph Rupp at the University of Kentucky, Riley's squad was known as Rupp's Runts because no player was taller than 6-5. Riley was 6-4.

As shown in the movie "Glory Road," Riley and the Wildcats lost the 1966 NCAA championship game to Texas Western, which made history as the first team with an all-black starting five to win the NCAA title.

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