Michael Dean Woodson (born March 24, 1958) is an American basketball coach and former professional player who is the head coach of the Indiana Hoosiers Men’s Team.
Woodson was a 10-year professional in the National Basketball Association (NBA) and spent his entire coaching career in the league until taking the Indiana job. He served as the head coach of the Atlanta Hawks from 2004 to 2010 and the New York Knicks from 2012 to 2014. He joined Indiana, his alma mater, after serving as an assistant coach for the Knicks.
Growing up in Indiana, Woodson felt the Hoosier Hysteria that permeated the state helped prepare him for a career in basketball. He said, “Every yard had courts, little basketball hoops in the yard. If you didn’t have it, you had neighbours two doors down that had it. You had parks in every area of town where you could go get a pickup game. According to Woodson, playing in Indiana meant “you had to be able to pass, and shoot, and dribble, and play without the basketball, you know, the motion offense. That was Indiana basketball. And Bob Knight is the one who really instilled a lot of the fundamentals and how high school coaches taught their teams.”
Mike Woodson played professional basketball for several teams. After success with that franchise, he finished his career by moving between several teams, making contributions in New Jersey, Los Angeles (with the Clippers), Houston, and Cleveland.
Woodson served three seasons as an assistant coach with the Milwaukee Bucks (1996–97 through 1998–99), Cleveland Cavaliers (1999–2000 through 2000–01), Philadelphia 76ers (2001–02 through 2002–03) and Detroit Pistons (2003–04). With the Pistons during the 2003-04 he helped win an NBA Championship under head coach Larry Brown. Woodson was known for getting the most of defensive players, allowing teams coached by him and Brown to limit opponents to just under 42% shooting.
For the 2004-05 season, Woodson took over as a head coach of the Atlanta Hawks, a position previously held by Terry Stotts. During his tenure with the Hawks from 2004–05 through 2009–10 he compiled a 206-286 (.419) record. In 2007–08, he led the Hawks to the playoffs for the first time in eight years. This would be the first of three consecutive playoff appearances. He led the Hawks into the Eastern Conference Semi-finals in his last two seasons, compiling an overall Playoff mark of 11–18 (.379). The Hawks increased their win total in each of Woodson’s six seasons in Atlanta, going from 13–69 in 2004–05 to 53–29 in 2009–10.
Woodson’s 206 career wins are fourth-best in Hawks franchise history. However, after the Hawks lost their second round playoff series with the Orlando Magic 0-4 in 2010, general manager Rick Sund announced that the team would not attempt to re-sign Woodson, whose contract expired on May 17, 2010.
New York Knicks.
On August 29, 2011, the New York Knicks announced that Mike Woodson was hired as an assistant coach. On March 14, 2012, Woodson was named interim head coach after D’Antoni’s resignation. In his debut as interim head coach that night, the Knicks crushed the Portland Trail Blazers by a score of 121 to 79. Woodson was named the full-time head coach of the Knicks on May 25, 2012. The Knicks ended the season strong under Mike Woodson, going 18–6 for an overall season record of 36–30, though they would lose 4–1 against the Miami Heat.
In the 2012–13 season the Knicks under Woodson compiled a record of 54–28 and secured the second seed in the Eastern Conference. They reached the Eastern Conference Semi-finals, where they lost to the Indiana Pacers in six games.
The Knicks struggled to a 3–13 start in the 2013–2014 season and the team never fully recovered, finishing with a record of 37–45, and missing the playoffs for the first time in four seasons.
On April 21, 2014, Woodson was fired from the New York Knicks head coaching position along with his entire coaching staff after two and a half seasons.
On September 29, 2014, the Los Angeles Clippers officially announced that Woodson had been hired as an assistant coach. He would hold that position with the Clippers throughout the next four years, missing out on the playoffs in only his last season there. Woodson would later announce his resignation from his position with the Clippers on May 15, 2018.
On May 22, 2018, a week after his removal from the Clippers, it was rumoured that the Phoenix Suns were planning to hire Woodson as an assistant coach under new head coach Igor Kokoskov. However, no announcement by the Suns was made.
On September 4, 2020, Woodson was hired as an assistant coach for the New York Knicks.
On March 28, 2021, Woodson was hired to be the next head coach for Indiana University men’s basketball.
Woodson and his wife Terri have two daughters, Alexis and Mariah, and both are volleyball players.
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