After two Knicks assistants flirted with college jobs, one finally went all the way. Mike Woodson has decided to leave New York to become the head coach at Indiana, the school announced Sunday.
Johnnie Bryant was in the running for Utah’s opening while it appeared that Kenny Payne came very close to being hired as the next DePaul coach, but both stayed on Tom Thibodeau’s staff.
“Obviously very pleased that they’re being recognized and all are very capable,” Thibodeau said Saturday.
Woodson is an unconventional hire at Indiana. He’s never coached in college, and the Hoosiers are Frankensteining him with Thad Matta, the former Butler and Ohio State coach, as an administrator. Some in college basketball media have compared the hire to Michigan hiring Juwan Howard, which seems absurd. Woodson is 63 years old and not a recently retired NBA star. Perhaps a better comparison would be Arizona State hiring Herm Edwards as its football coach — someone who knows the pro game and can surround himself with recruiters.
Woodson and the school have agreed to a six-year deal, according an ESPN report. He’s replacing the fired Archie Miller, who failed to make the NCAA tournament in four seasons as head coach.
The former Knicks head coach was a star at Indiana in the ‘70s, and was linked to the Indiana job way back in 2014.
Woodson is 315-365 as head coach of the Hawks and Knicks. He took the Knicks to their last two postseason appearances in 2012 and 2013, including the franchise’s last playoff series win in 2013. The 2012-13 Knicks posted what is still the team’s best record of the last 25 years.
When the Knicks fired him after two seasons and change as head coach, the bottom fell out in New York. Woodson went on to be an assistant with Doc Rivers’ Clippers for four years.
He was a finalist when the Knicks ended up hiring Tom Thibodeau as their head coach last summer.