TheÂ New York KnicksÂ on Friday named Mike Woodson their next coach, removing the interim tag from his job title.
The team announced that Woodson had signed a multiyear extension. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
“I’m very humbled and honored to continue coaching the franchise where I started my NBA career,” Woodson, who was drafted by the Knicks in 1980, said in a statement. “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 championship to Madison Square Garden.”
Woodson took over as coach of the Knicks on an interim basis when Mike D’Antoni stepped down March 14. Under Woodson, the Knicks finished the regular season 18-6 and in seventh place in the Eastern Conference.
He coached the team to a win in Game 4 of its first-round playoff series against theÂ Miami Heat, which snapped the franchise’s NBA-record 13-game postseason losing streak.
“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,” Madison Square Garden chairman James Dolan said in a statement. “We saw a significant improvement since Mike took over and believe our team will only keep improving under Mike’s direction.”
When D’Antoni first stepped down, Phil Jackson, the former Knicks player and Bulls and Lakers coach, and Kentucky coach John Calipari were mentioned as potential replacements.
But there was no indication that the 66-year-old Jackson would come out of retirement — one team source said the Knicks did not reach out to Jackson — and Calipari repeatedly has denied interest in leaving Kentucky. New York was hesitant to reach out to Jackson because of his age and the hefty contract offer that it would likely take to entice him to take the job.
In a statement, Knicks general manager Glen Grunwald said Woodson was the “right man” to coach the team.
“Mike has the respect of every person in this organization,” Grunwald said. “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.”
Woodson joined the Knicks on August 29, 2011, hired as an assistant to help improve the team’s defense under D’Antoni.
He’d previously coached six seasons in Atlanta, leading the Hawks to the playoffs three times and improving their win total in each year on the job.
WRITTEN BY Ian Begley is a regular contributor to ESPNNewYork.com & FULL STORY HERE