- Posted: 6:20 PM, May 25, 2012
The Knicks finally made it official tonight, naming Mike Woodson their permanent head coach, removing the interim tag.
“Mike took over the team under challenging circumstances and made it clear, starting on day one, that he was going to hold every player on our roster accountable,” said Knicks owner James Dolan in a statement. “We saw a significant improvement since Mike took over and believe our team will only keep improving under Mike’s direction.”
Woodson is believed to have been awarded a three-year deal, which is the amount of years left on Carmelo Anthony, Tyson Chandler and Amar'e Stoudemire's pact. Woodson took over the reigns March 14th after Mike D'Antoni resigned and reeled off an 18-6 record, guiding the Knicks into the playoffs. It was the second-best record over that period in the league next to San Antonio. The Knicks did not conduct a search, failing to call Phil Jackson, who sources said had interest.
"Mike has the respect of every person in this organization,'' Knicks GM Glen Grunwald said in the statement. "He and his staff led the team in an impressive push into the playoffs over the last 24 games and we believe he is the right man to lead the franchise as we move forward.''
The Knicks were ousted in the first round by Miami in five games after a mountain of injuries befell the club. "Our goal is to build off the success we had at the end of last season and to continue our quest of bringing an NBA championshhip to the Garden.''
When asked on a conference call about Dolan not contacting Phil Jackson, Woodson said, "Coach Jackson is a tremendous coach. I knows his name was mentioned a lot. That was not my concern. My concern was coaching the Knicks. Mr. Dolan decided to bring me back. I’m very, very happy Mr. Dolan gave me this opportunity.’’
Grunwald said on the conference call Jackson wasn’t considered after their first interview after the season.
“Woody earned the right to be the first person we talked to and turned out the only person we talked to because our discussion with him after the season really reflected why he was so successful during the season,'' Grunwald said. "We thought he was the right guy for this team at this time. Obviously there were names out there, had we opened up the search, that would’ve been called, namely Phil Jackson, the most successful coach in NBA history. But we felt Woody was our guy. We told Woody he'd get first crack at the job and he hit it out of the park.''’