The season of struggle endured by fans of the New York Knicks is over, and the captain of the sinking ship has been given the boot. Head coach Mike Woodson and his entire staff were fired by the team this morning, marking a big first step in the new Phil Jackson era for the team.
Although Woodson amassed a winning record 116-89 record in his two and change seasons with the Knicks, this past season was abysmal in comparison to the year before. Last year, the Knicks captured the Atlantic Division title but their 37-45 record this season couldn’t cut it even in a weak Eastern Conference. The firing is the most significant action from Jackson since joining the team as president back in March.
From Phil Jackson’s statement regarding the move:
“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.”
The writing was on the wall for the Knicks, as Woodson tried to reign in the erratic J.R. Smith while supplementing the talents of All-Star Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire. Woodson’s job security was a distraction all season long, with the bright lights of New York media not helping when point guard Ray Felton was embroiled in a controversy involving guns and an ugly divorce.
All the blame can’t fall on Coach Woodson, as his roster was hammered with injuries to star big man Tyson Chandler and other nagging issues with Stoudemire. Players rallied around Woodson, including Anthony, yet it was all but certain the coach’s time with the team came to an end.
Jackson has vowed not to return to coaching, and says the team is looking for a replacement now.
We’re going to miss Coach Woody and his goatee, scowling away and pacing the sidelines at Madison Square Garden. We wish him the best of luck.