NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — How quickly things change.
Mike Woodson had the Knicks on top of their division and in the second round of the playoffs, destinations that had become unreachable and practically unimaginable in New York.
A year later, he was out of job.
Phil Jackson fired Woodson and the entire coaching staff on Monday, making his first big move since becoming team president in March and saying in a statement that “the time has come for change throughout the franchise.”
The dismissal comes shortly after the Knicks completed a 37-45 season that began with their belief they were a serious contender.
Instead, they started poorly, making Woodson’s job security practically a season-long distraction. A late surge wasn’t good enough for a postseason spot or another year for Woodson.
It was a stunningly swift fall for Woodson, whose .580 winning percentage with the Knicks ranks behind only Pat Riley and Jeff Van Gundy, and who finished third in the NBA’s Coach of the Year voting after going 54-28 last season.
He and the staff were informed of the decision Monday morning by Jackson, the man the Knicks originally wanted to replace Woodson as coach but preferred to run the team’s front office.
Jackson has won an NBA-record 11 championships as a coach. He has repeatedly said he’s not interested in returning to the bench, so he will have to hire someone before he turns his attention to the roster. The team said the coaching search begins immediately.