NEW YORK (AFP) - Tom Thibodeau was named coach of the NBA's New York Knicks on Thursday, taking on the task of reviving one of the league's sickliest franchises.
After multiple reports last week talks were being finalized on a five-year deal, the Knicks announced the hiring of 2011 NBA Coach of the Year, a former Knicks assistant coach.
The Knicks have struggled through six consecutive losing seasons, have managed only one playoff series win since 2000 and have not won the NBA title since 1973.
Thibodeau, who backed up Knicks coach Jeff Van Gundy from 1996 to 2004, has compiled a 352-246 record in eight seasons as an NBA coach, guiding the Chicago Bulls from 2010-2015 and the Minnesota Timberwolves from 2016 to January of 2019.
"Tom Thibodeau is a proven winner who gets the most out of the players and teams that he has coached," Knicks president Leon Rose said. "He will bring leadership, accountability and a hard-working mentality to our organization."
Thibodeau, 62, has produced tough defenses, twice in his eight seasons as head coach guiding the club with fewest points allowed in the NBA.
"I'm grateful for the opportunity to return to this historic franchise as head coach and work alongside a talented front office that I have great trust in and respect for," said Thibodeau.
"I know what New York is like when the Knicks are successful and there is nothing comparable. I look forward to being a part of what we are building here and can't wait to get to work."
The Knicks went 21-45 in the NBA season that was shut down by COVID-19 in March and did not qualify for the restart bubble in Orlando. Former assistant Mike Miller had coached the club on an interim basis since early December.