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Jeff Van Gundy wanted Knicks head coach job, but owner James Dolan unaware of it

James Dolan, Jeff Van Gundy

Before the New York Knicks hired David Fizdale as the team’s new head coach last summer, Jeff Van Gundy was viewed as one of the front-runners to land the job. Having spent 14 seasons with the team (seven years as an assistant coach and seven as the head honcho) prior to parting ways with the Knicks in 2003, Van Gundy was a fan favorite who many considered to be a good fit for the current team.

However, the team decided to go in another direction and passed on Van Gundy. In a recent interview with Ian O’Connor of ESPN, team owner James Dolan shed some light on why the Knicks overlooked Van Gundy. According to the 63-year-old business magnate, he was not even aware that Van Gundy was interested:

“I never heard that,” Dolan claimed. “He wanted the job? Look, I’ll do whatever’s necessary to help the team. If Scott and Steve said Jeff’s the right guy, fine, but it was really their call. I didn’t meet anybody else other than Fiz. They said, ‘Look, he’s our pick, I want you to meet him.’ So I did. I wasn’t involved in the selection process at all.”

Dolan clearly respected the boundary between owner and team executives for this hire, so as he explained, he had very little involvement in the process of hiring the team’s new head coach.

For his part, Fizdale has been doing a relatively fine job (all things considered) for the Knicks thus far, and it appears that by the way things are going, the front office got the right man for the job.