NBA: Pat Riley's Coaching Career is Done...For Now

Gary LloydSenior Analyst IApril 28, 2008

I'm probably way off since I don't know all the details, but on the surface, it seems Pat Riley is a quitter.

I know he's considered one of the top coaches in history, has titles and will be in the Hall of Fame in September, but I can't help but feel this way.

Today, Riley resigned as the head coach of the 15-67 Miami Heat, but will remain as the team's president.

He obviously had a legitimate reason to take time off last season when he had surgery on his knee.

However, he resigned as Heat coach after a 25-57 2002-03 season and hired Stan Van Gundy, who lasted just over two seasons in Miami.  Riley decided he wanted back in as coach, returned to the bench in December 2005 (postponing a hip replacement) and ultimately was the head coach at the time of Miami's first NBA Championship. Just two years later, after an abysmal season, he's done yet again.

Do you sense a pattern? Because I do.

When things are going good, Riley wants to be at the head of the bench. When things are going bad, he wants to sit in his luxury box as team president where no one can see him.

Last year, Riley said he was committed to coaching three more NBA seasons. At his press conference today, he admitted he never believed what he said just a year ago.

That tells me, and should tell anyone, he lied. His word is thus compromised.

At today's press conference in which he resigned, Riley said, "I am definitely sure that I don't want to do this anymore."

OK, Pat. Sure you don't.

He went on to say this: "I think the call from the Hall of Fame did something to me. There was a lot of emotion on that telephone call. When you come to the finish, or you know it's the best time, it's a clean ending."

We'll see, but don't be surprised if Riley takes back his word yet again when the Heat start to win a few games.