Mike Woodson thanked Knicks owner James Dolan profusely for letting him out of his contract to nab his dream job of being head coach at his alma mater, Indiana University.
Woodson last guided the Knicks to the playoffs in 2012-13 with a 54-win season and was brought back this summer to join Tom Thibodeau’s staff as an assistant specializing in defense.
“I want to thank my Knick family for allowing me to get out of my contract and come home,” Woodson said Monday morning during his introductory press conference. “Jim Dolan gets a bad rap in New York. But he was a great owner for me. He allowed me to be head coach and he allowed me to come back to be an assistant. I want to thank (president) Leon Rose, Wes (Wesley) Scott Perry and Tom Thibodeau, who is a great coach. His beautiful staff they’ve assembled in New York has allowed me to do what I do now. They didn’t have to do that. I think them very much from the bottom of my heart. Everyone in that Knicks organization is first class.”
The Post has reported senior VP William Wesley pushed for the hiring of Woodson, Kenny Payne and Johnnie Bryant – neither of whom knew Thibodeau. All three got attention for college openings but Payne (DePaul) and Bryant (University of Utah) will stay.
It is expected Andy Greer, Thibodeau’s longtime assistant, will move up to the front row of the bench. Greer was in the front row when Woodson missed a West Coast trip for personal reasons. The front row of the bench is considered a status symbol.