Wilkens Takes Over As New Coach of Knicks
Jan. 15, 2004
GREENBURGH, N.Y. (AP) _ Lenny Wilkens officially took over as the New York Knicks' coach Thursday, saying he's familiar with most of the players and his job will be to ``make them better.''
``I'm kind of anxious to get going,'' said Wilkens, flanked by Cablevision chairman James Dolan, Knicks special adviser Willis Reed and Knicks president Isiah Thomas. ``I'm excited about it.''
Wilkens _ who has more wins and more losses than any other coach in NBA history _ replaces Don Chaney. He was fired Wednesday a few hours before the Knicks beat the Orlando Magic 120-110 under assistant Herb Williams.
Wilkens will coach the Knicks for the first time Friday night against the Seattle SuperSonics, a team Wilkens played for and coached to the 1979 NBA title.
``I've watched the Knicks play, and I'm very familiar with Allan Houston,'' said Wilkens, who also coached Dikembe Mutumbo in Atlanta. ``Now I have to get a feel for how they play together.''
The coaching change is the latest in a series of major moves by Thomas, who succeeded Scott Layden late last month.
Thomas turned over about half the roster and a majority of the coaching staff, and also acquired All-Star guard Stephon Marbury.