Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra was not at the team’s media day on Monday at FTX Arena, but for a very good reason.
Spoelstra’s wife, Nikki, gave birth to Ruby Grace Spoelstra on Monday. Already with two boys, 4-year-old Santiago and 2-year-old Dante, Ruby is the couple’s first daughter.
With Spoelstra away from the team, he’s also likely to miss the Heat’s first training camp practice on Tuesday at Baha Mar in Nassau. He’s expected to rejoin the team at some point during the week in the Bahamas.
Spoelstra, 51, has missed only five games in his 14 seasons as the Heat’s head coach — two because of the birth of his two sons. But with his daughter’s birth coming in late September at the start of training camp, Spoelstra won’t need to miss any games this time.
However long Spoelstra is away, his staff of assistant coaches Chris Quinn, Malik Allen, Caron Butler, Octavio De La Grana, Anthony Carter and Eric Glass will run training camp practices in his place.
Spoelstra and Nikki have been married since the summer of 2016. Spoelstra is the winningest head coach in Heat history with 660 regular-season wins and 96 playoff wins, leading the franchise to five NBA Finals appearances and two championships in 2012 and 2013 with the help of LeBron James, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade.
Follwing media day at FTX Arena on Monday, the Heat will hold training camp practices in the Bahamas from Tuesday through Saturday before returning to Miami for the Red, White and Pink Game on Oct. 3 and its preseason opener on Oct. 4 against the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Jay Sabol, the Heat’s longtime athletic trainer, has been moved to the position of Vice President of Sports Performance. Sabol was away from the Heat for the second half of last season.
Wes Brown, who filled in for Sabol while he was away last season, is now listed as the head athletic trainer on the team’s directory.