Knicks fire Chaney; Wilkens to take over
New York, NY (Sports Network) – The New York Knicks have fired head coach Don
Chaney and replaced him with Lenny Wilkens. Assistant Herb Williams will coach
the team Wednesday against Orlando at Madison Square Garden and Wilkens will
take over on Thursday.
“I think he’s (Wilkens) a perfect fit,” team president Isiah Thomas said at a
news conference at Madison Square Garden.
Assistant coaches Brendan Malone and Lon Kruger were also fired.
Wilkens is the all-time winningest NBA coach with 1,292 victories. Under
Wilkens, the Seattle SuperSonics won the NBA championship in 1979. Wilkens,
whose record is 1,292-1,114, has also coached Portland, Cleveland, Atlanta and
Toronto. He is one of just two coaches to lead four different teams to 100
In 1996, he coached the U.S. Olympic team to the gold medal at the Atlanta
Games. He mutually agreed to leave his position as head coach of the Toronto
Raptors after the 2002-03 season after three years at the helm. This will be
his 31st season as a head coach in the NBA.
Chaney guided the Knicks to just a 15-24 mark this season and a 72-112 record
since taking over for Jeff Van Gundy on December 10, 2001. He had come under
heavy scrutiny of late and has been serenaded by fans at home with loud
chants of “fire Chaney.”
Chaney, who joined the Knicks’ coaching staff in August 1995, was in his
fourth head coaching stint. He won NBA Coach of the Year honors by leading
the 1990-91 Houston Rockets to a 52-30 mark.
In 11 seasons as a player in the NBA, Chaney and was part of two NBA
championships as a member of the Boston Celtics (1969 and 1974). Chaney also
was a five-time NBA All-Defensive Second-Team selection. Drafted by Boston
in 1968, Chaney spent nine-plus seasons with the Celtics and also
played for the Los Angeles Lakers.