Ron Rothstein, the first coach in Miami Heat history and an assistant on all three of the franchise's championship teams, was named the recipient of the 2017 Tex Winter Assistant Coach Lifetime Impact Award on Tuesday by the National Basketball Coaches Association.
Rothstein, 74, stopped coaching after the 2014 season, but has remained with the Heat over the last several seasons as a broadcaster and corporate liaison. He was honored Tuesday in large part for his 26 years of service on the bench including 22 as an assistant for five different teams.
“Ron Rothstein is most deserving of this prestigious recognition,” Rick Carlisle, Dallas Mavericks coach and NBCA President said in a statement.
“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.”
Rothstein, who began his professional career with the Hawks in 1983 before coaching for the Pistons, Heat, Cavaliers and Pacers, was touched by the honor.
“This is not only an honor, it is also a truly humbling experience,” Rothstein said in a statement released by the NBCA.
“Over the course of my 22 years as an assistant, 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.”
In addition to coaching in the NBA, Rothstein was also general manager and head Coach of the WNBA's Miami Sol during their three years of existence.
Rothstein is the second recipient of the award. Phil Johnson, a longtime assistant with the Utah Jazz and Chicago Bulls, was the first recipient.
The committee which selected Rothstein comprised of some of the most respected coaches and basketball executives in the game, including Rick Adelman, Hubie Brown, Doug Collins, Wayne Embry, Danny Ferry, Mike Fratello, George Karl, Doc Rivers, Rod Thorn, and Lenny Wilkens.
This year’s other nominees included assistant coaches Ron Adams, Jim Boylan, Hank Egan, Jim Eyen, Tim Grgurich, Frank Hamblen, Dick Helm, Brian Hill, Jim Lynam, Brendan Malone, Bob McAdoo, Brendan Suhr, and Bob Weiss.