Knicks Fire Head Coach Mike Woodson

Monday, Apr 21, 2014  |  Updated 11:02 AM EDT
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The Knicks have fired head coach Mike Woodson, with team president Phil Jackson saying "the time has come for change."

Woodson led the Knicks to 54 wins and a division title last season, and the Knicks embraced their high expectations coming into 2013-14. But they got off to a dismal start and couldn't recover, going 37-45. 

"The coaches and players on this team had an extremely difficult 2013-14 season, and blame should not be put on one individual," Jackson said in a statement Monday. "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 entire coaching staff was let go Monday, Jackson said, and the search for replacements begins immediately.

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 coaches before he turns his attention to the roster.

Woodson, a former Knicks first-round draft pick, was hired as an assistant coach before the 2011-12 season, then engineered an 18-6 finish after replacing Mike D'Antoni on an interim basis the following March to capture a playoff spot. Given a multiyear deal two months later, he then led them to a 54-28 record last season and the Knicks' first Atlantic Division championship since 1994.

New York then beat Boston in the playoffs, its first series victory since 2000, and general manager Steve Mills picked up next season's option year on Woodson's contract before this season began.

But the Knicks were saddled with some early injuries, including center Tyson Chandler's broken leg, and Madison Square Garden chairman James Dolan was already considering about replacing Woodson by December, when he met with Jackson at a holiday party and talked to him about coaching the team.

Carmelo Anthony praised his coach Thursday, but it was probably a clear sign Woodson wouldn't be back a few minutes later when Amar'e Stoudemire said the coach hadn't taken part in the exit meetings with players that Jackson and Mills held.

Woodson previously coached six seasons with the Atlanta Hawks, leading them to the playoffs in his final three seasons. He has a career record of 315-365.

The Knicks last won a championship in 1973. 

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