LAS VEGAS — Ron Rothstein, an innovative and illustrious Assistant Coach for five different NBA teams and three NBA Championships, is the recipient of the 2017 Tex Winter Assistant Coach Lifetime Impact Award, the National Basketball Coaches Association (NBCA) announced today.
“Ron Rothstein is most deserving of this prestigious recognition. 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,” said Dallas Mavericks Head Coach and NBCA President Rick Carlisle.
“I would like to thank the NBCA for the honor of being chosen as this year’s recipient of the Tex Winter Assistant Coach Lifetime Impact Award. This is not only an honor, it is also a truly humbling experience, said Rothstein.
“Over the course of my 22 years as an Assistant Coach, 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.
“Thanks, also, to the GM’s I have had the privilege to work for: Stan Kasten (Atlanta Hawks), the late Jack McCloskey (Detroit Pistons), Wayne Embry (Cleveland Cavaliers), Donnie Walsh/Larry Bird (Indiana Pacers) and Pat Riley (Miami Heat). Not many Coaches can put together a list like that. What a privilege it was to work for them.
“To all the players I have had the good fortune to work with, thank you for all that you have done to contribute to my success. Obviously, none of this was possible without your dedication, hard work, talent, and professionalism.
“I have been fortunate enough to have lived and worked in the NBA through the Golden Years all the way to the wildly successful years of today’s era. All my family and I can say is thank you, thank you, thank you.
“Last but not least, a huge thank you to my beautiful wife of 51 years, Olivia, who has been by my side every step of the way, and to my children and grandchildren, as well, for all their love and support.”
Rothstein, who has spent over 50 years in the game and 26 years on an NBA bench, began his NBA career in 1979 as the northeastern U.S. regional scout for the Atlanta Hawks. In 1982, he moved to a similar position with the New York Knicks before becoming an Assistant Coach with the Hawks in 1983. After spending three seasons on the Hawks bench, Rothstein joined the Detroit Pistons coaching staff as an Assistant Coach in 1986 where he was credited with establishing the defensive mindset and principles that helped the Pistons reach the Eastern Conference Finals in 1987 and the NBA Finals in 1988.
He was the Miami Heat’s first Head Coach in 1988 and led the team for three years, increasing the team’s victory total each year. He also served as Head Coach of the Detroit Pistons and General Manager and Head Coach of the WNBA Miami Sol for their three years of existence.
Rothstein spent the last 10 years of his renowned coaching career as an Assistant Coach for the Miami Heat. After helping win the 2006 NBA Championship as an Assistant Coach for Pat Riley, he transitioned to Erik Spoelstra’s staff where he was a part of two more championship teams. Overall, he coached in 9 Eastern Conference Championships and 6 NBA Finals.
Prior to joining the NBA, Rothstein was a high school coach for 19 years and was selected Westchester County (NY) Coach of the Year in 1979 while at Eastchester High School in New York.
Rothstein was inducted into the University of Rhode Island (his alma mater) Athletic Hall of Fame in 1989 and in 2010 he received the Ram Legend Award from U.R.I. Additionally, he was inducted into the Miami Sports Hall of Champions in 2005 and the Westchester County (NY) Sports Hall of Fame in 2010.
The National Basketball Coaches Association Tex Winter Assistant Coach Lifetime Impact Award honors the tremendous achievements and commitment of Hall of Fame Tex Winter, who over an outstanding NBA coaching career set a standard of integrity, competitive excellence, loyalty, and tireless promotion of NBA basketball. This year’s award recognizes the extraordinary contributions Ron Rothstein has made to the sport throughout his NBA career through building a body of work that has had a positive and powerful impact on the NBA coaching profession. Coach Rothstein embodies the high standards and leadership philosophies that Tex Winter brought to the game.
The National Basketball Coaches Association Tex Winter Assistant Coach Lifetime Impact Award is selected annually by the Award Selection Committee. This Committee is 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 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.
Prior recipient is Phil Johnson (2016).
About the NBCA: The National Basketball Coaches Association (NBCA) is the labor organization that represents basketball coaches in the National Basketball Association (NBA). Founded in 1976 by legendary Boston Celtics player and coach, Tommy Heinsohn, the NBCA consists of all NBA Head Coaches, Assistant Coaches and alumni, and works closely with the NBA on all matters that pertain to the coaching profession.