Mark this one down in the “Who saw this coming” category. Mike Woodson was hired to be the new head coach of the Indiana Hoosiers, taking over a program that has been underachieving for years. Born and raised in Indianapolis, Woodson attended and played at Indiana before being selected by the New York Knicks in the first round of the 1980 draft. That’s not the part nobody saw coming, although it was a bit surprising. What was somewhat unpredictable, was all the praise Woodson gave to Knicks owner James Dolan upon his exit.
In an article posted by the New York Post, Woodson couldn’t have spoken better of Dolan in his introductory press conference after being introduced at Indiana.
“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…. Everyone in that Knicks organization is first class.” – Mike Woodson
Dolan has long been mocked and ridiculed by almost everyone in the media with many calling for him to sell the Knicks. The Charles Oakley incident at Madison Square Garden really triggered many and bumped up the pressure on Dolan. He has stood firm in his ownership of the team though.
Woodson’s praise of Dolan comes as one of the few to do so in recent memory.
His hire at Indiana was a surprise to some, as Woodson has never coached at the college level in any capacity, having spent his entire coaching career in the NBA.
He takes over an Indiana program he knows well that is in desperate need of a facelift and a coach who can produce results and consistency.