Miami Heat President to Speak at Commencement

Pat Riley, inspirational speaker and NBA executive, will address students at the December 19 graduation.

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UM News

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (December 09, 2013) — Pat Riley, the iconic and stylish team president of the Miami Heat who has won nine NBA championships as a player, coach, and executive, will bring his inspirational message to the University of Miami on Thursday, December 19, when he addresses graduating students at fall commencement.

More than 900 undergraduate and graduate students from all of UM’s schools and colleges will accept degrees during the ceremony, which will start at 10 a.m. in the BankUnited Center. But before graduates receive their newly minted diplomas, Riley will offer them a few valuable words of advice.

Riley captured his first NBA ring as a role player for the 1971-72 Los Angeles Lakers, playing alongside friend and legendary Laker guard Jerry West. He claimed another title as a Lakers assistant coach in 1979-80. Then came an incredible run as head coach when Riley collected four more titles for the Lakers in 1982, 1985, 1987, and 1988, coaching the likes of NBA legends Earvin “Magic” Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and James Worthy.

But for the city of Miami, it’s the three NBA championships Riley captured for their beloved Miami Heat that matter most. The first came in 2006, when Riley, then general manager of the Heat, took over the head-coaching reins early in the season and led the team to victory over the Dallas Mavericks for the franchise’s first NBA crown. In so doing, he became the only NBA coach to take three different teams to the NBA Finals. (He took the New York Knicks to the NBA Finals in 1994.)

Today, as Miami Heat team president, Riley is on fire—two NBA titles in three years, with the team heavily favored to three-peat this season. These past two titles come not as a result of Riley’s mastery as a coach but as a consequence of his Midas touch as an executive.

In one of the greatest off-season moves in league history, Riley convinced NBA All-Stars LeBron James and Chris Bosh to join Miami and form the “Big 3” with Dwyane Wade. Simply put, Riley is a winner.

Riley’s resume overflows with honors. In 1996-97, as the NBA celebrated its 50th anniversary, Riley was named one of the “Top 10 Coaches in NBA History” by a panel of media who regularly cover the league. In 2008 he was enshrined in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

Fall commencement ceremony is open to graduates and their guests. For more information, visit, where the ceremony will be webcast live and archived.

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