Knicks fire coaching staff after 'difficult' season

Mon Apr 21, 2014 1:42pm EDT
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NEW YORK (Reuters) - The New York Knicks fired head coach Mike Woodson on Monday as new president Phil Jackson made the first big move to put his stamp on the National Basketball Association team.

Jackson, hired last month to turn around the struggling franchise, said in a statement that the entire coaching staff had been relieved of their duties.

"I have a tremendous amount of respect for Mike Woodson and his entire staff," said Jackson, who won a record 11 NBA titles as head coach of the Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers in the previous two decades.

"The coaches and players on this team had an extremely difficult 2013-14 season, and blame should not be put on one individual.

"But the time has come for change throughout the franchise as we start the journey to assess and build this team for next season and beyond."

Despite a late surge in which the Knicks won 16 of their last 21 games, New York finished the season with a 37-45 record and missed the playoffs by one game after winning the division title last year and reaching the Eastern Conference semi-finals.

In parts of three seasons with the Knicks, Woodson compiled an overall record of 109-79 that included two consecutive NBA playoff appearances and the team's first Atlantic Division title in 19 years.

Woodson, 56, formerly coached six seasons with the Atlanta Hawks and has a career head coaching record of 315-365.

The search for a new coaching staff will begin immediately, the team said.   Continued...

Feb 28, 2014; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks head coach Mike Woodson reacts in the second half against the Golden State Warriors at Madison Square Garden. Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports