By Sam Joseph, CNN
(CNN) — Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra started out as the team’s video coordinator in 1995; almost 30 years later, he has reportedly agreed to sign one of the biggest contracts in North American sports coaching history.
According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, citing unnamed sources, the Heat and Spoelstra, who has coached the team since 2008, agreed to an eight-year contract extension worth more than $120 million. Although a few coaches might be making more per year, Wojnarowski reports that this is most committed money in North American coaching history.
CNN has reached out to the Heat and Spoelstra’s agency to confirm the details of the reported extension and terms, but has yet to hear back.
NBA superstar LeBron James – who played for Spoelstra from 2010 to 2014 – commented on the reported deal, posting on X (formerly known as Twitter), “Worth Every Single Cent of that contract!!! Congrats Spo!!”
Spoelstra worked his way up through the ranks during his near three-decade-long tenure with the organization.
He held the roles of assistant coach/video coordinator, assistant coach/advance scout and assistant coach/director of scouting, before being promoted to head coach.
He took over the reins from Pat Riley, who stepped back from his dual role of head coach and Heat president to focus solely on the latter in 2008.
These were big shoes to fill – Riley is a three-time Coach of the Year and led Miami to its first NBA championship in 2006. However, Spoelstra quickly proved he was up to the task and has garnered a reputation as one of the league’s best coaches.
Now in his 16th season as head coach of the Heat, Spoelstra has only overseen a losing campaign twice and has made the playoffs on 12 occasions. He has made the NBA Finals six times and guided Miami to back-to-back championships in 2011 and 2012 while coaching the All-Star trio of James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.
Even after James returned to the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2014 and the subsequent departures of Wade and Bosh, Spoelstra has found a way to keep the franchise competitive, with his two most recent runs to the NBA Finals only improving his legacy. In 2020, he received plaudits for taking an underdog, fifth-seeded Heat side all the way to the Finals.
His 2023 run was even more unlikely – the Heat scraped into the postseason as the eighth seed via the Play-In Tournament and upset the No. 1-seeded Milwaukee Bucks in the first round, before taking down the New York Knicks and Boston Celtics on the way to a Finals defeat by the Denver Nuggets.
‘Coach Spo’ ranks 19th in all-time victories, with 725 regular season wins to his name, per Basketball Reference, and is third among active coaches, behind only San Antonio Spurs legend Gregg Popovich and the Indiana Pacers’ Rick Carlisle.
The total reported figure in Spoelstra’s contract exceeds that of the deal that Popovich signed in the summer – due to its length – and it would put him as the second-highest paid NBA coach, behind Popovich, on an annual basis.
Spoelstra is also serving as an assistant coach for Team USA – which is looking avenge its poor performance at the 2023 FIBA Basketball World Cup and win its fifth Olympic gold medal in a row at Paris 2024 – under Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr.
™ & © 2024 Cable News Network, Inc., a Warner Bros. Discovery Company. All rights reserved.
CNN’s Thomas Schlachter contributed to reporting.