New York (AFP) – David Fizdale, fired as coach of the Memphis Grizzlies last November, was named Monday as the new coach of the NBA’s struggling New York Knicks.
The 43-year-old American — who has served assistant coaching stints with Golden State, Atlanta and Miami — took on the challenge of reviving a woeful side that has missed the playoffs for five consecutive campaigns.
“I am honored and humbled to join the Knicks,” Fizdale said. “I appreciate the enormous responsibility it is to coach the Knicks and am ready to give my all to build the type of winning team the passionate fans of New York will be proud of.”
Fizdale guided the Grizzlies to a 43-39 record in his first season, losing to San Antonio in the opening round of the playoffs. This past season, he was fired after the team opened the campaign 7-12 on their way to a 22-60 finish, second-worst in the NBA.
The Knicks didn’t finish that much better, going 29-53, which led to last month’s firing of coach Jeff Hornacek, setting the stage for Fizdale to be hired.
“After a thorough coaching search, it was clear that David would be a great fit with the Knicks and we’re thrilled he’s joining our organization,” Knicks president Steve Mills said. “He’s an experienced coach, strong leader and effective communicator who understands what it takes to build a winning culture.”
With Miami, Fizdale was an assistant on NBA championship teams in 2012 and 2013 powered by LeBron James.
“David is a dynamic coach who will thrive in New York,” Knicks general manager Scott Perry said. “His championship pedigree, resiliency and expertise in player development make David well-suited to establish the Knicks as a consistent winning basketball team.”