History of New York Knicks Coaches

Take a look back at the 28 Knicks head coaches who came before David Fizdale.

1. NEIL COHALAN

Years as Coach: 1946-47
Regular Season Record: 33-27
Playoff Record: 2-3

Cohalan was actually the winning coach of the first-ever game in the Basketball Association of America (which later became the NBA) as the Knicks beat the Toronto Huskies on Nov. 1, 1946.

2. JOE LAPCHICK

Years as Coach: 1947-56
Regular Season Record: 326-247
Playoff Record: 30-30

Lapchick, a Yonkers, NY native, guided the Knickerbockers to three straight NBA Finals (1951-53) as New York became one of the elite teams in the National Basketball Association.

3. VINCE BORYLA

Years as Coach: 1956-58
Regular Season Record: 80-85
Playoff Record: 0-0

“Moose” Borlya became the youngest head coach in Knicks history at the tender age of 28, less than two years after he retired as a player with the team.

4. ANDREW LEVANE

Years as Coach: 1958-59
Regular Season Record: 48-51
Playoff Record: 0-2

“Fuzzy,” as he was nicknamed, was key to bringing Red Holzman to the Knicks organization, as Levane hired Holzman as a scout while he was the coach.

5. CARL BRAUN

Years as Coach: 1959-61
Regular Season Record: 40-87
Playoff Record: 0-0

A five-time All-Star as a player, Braun was actually a player-coach in the last two seasons of his 12-year tenure with the Knicks.

6. EDDIE DONOVAN

Years as Coach: 1961-1965
Regular Season Record: 84-194
Playoff Record: 0-0

Though the Knicks never made the playoffs with Donovan as the head coach, he was also the club’s GM through 1970 and built the legendary team that won the franchise’s only NBA titles by drafting Willis Reed, Bill Bradley and Walt Frazier, and trading for Dave DeBusschere and Dick Barnett.

7. HARRY GALLATIN

Years as Coach: 1965
Regular Season Record: 25-38
Playoff Record: 0-0

Gallatin had a Hall-of-Fame playing career with the Knickerbockers, making the All-Star team seven times in nine seasons in New York from 1948-57. He coached parts of two seasons with the Knicks after taking over for Donovan.

8. DICK McGUIRE

Years as Coach: 1965-67
Regular Season Record: 75-103
Playoff Record: 1-3

One of the greatest players in Knicks history, McGuire’s No. 15 is retired in The Garden rafters. In McGuire’s first full year as head coach in 1966-67, the Knicks made it back to the playoffs for the first time in eight seasons, paving the way for their first championship just a few years later.

9. RED HOLZMAN

Years as Coach: 1967-77, 1978-82
Regular Season Record: 613-483
Playoff Record: 54-43

The legendary William Red Holzman is the greatest coach in Knicks history and led the club to its two NBA titles in 1970 and ’73. His 613 regular season victories are 287 more than the next most on the franchise’s coaching wins list. Holzman actually had two stints with the Knicks, finally retiring from coaching at the age of 62 in 1982.

10. WILLIS REED

Years as Coach: 1977-78
Regular Season Record: 49-47
Playoff Record: 2-4

The Captain of both Knicks championship teams, the great Willis Reed stepped into the big shoes of Holzman and helped guide New York back to the playoffs in 1977 after a two-year absence. Reed was then replaced by Holzman just 14 games into his second season as head coach.

11. HUBIE BROWN

Years as Coach: 1982-86
Regular Season Record: 142-202
Playoff Record: 8-10

The Knicks won a playoff series in each of Brown’s first two years as head coach, after not doing so the previous four seasons.

12. BOB HILL

Years as Coach: 1986-87
Regular Season Record: 20-46
Playoff Record: 0-0

The assistant coach under Hubie Brown, Hill took over for the remainder of the 1986-87 season after Brown was fired 16 games into the campaign.

13. RICK PITINO

Years as Coach: 1987-89
Regular Season Record: 90-74
Playoff Record: 6-7

The 35-year-old New York native took over for a Knicks team that won 24 games the year prior and got them back to the playoffs in 1988. Then in his second year, Pitino led the Knicks to a 52-win season and their first division title in 18 years.

14. STU JACKSON

Years as Coach: 1989-90
Regular Season Record: 52-45
Playoff Record: 4-6

Jackson helped steer the Knicks to a first-round playoff win over the rival Celtics in his only full season as the head coach. He resigned just 15 games into the 1990-91 season.

15. JOHN MACLEOD

Years as Coach: 1990-1991
Regular Season Record: 32-35
Playoff Record: 0-3

In his only season with the Knicks and his last as a head coach in the NBA, MacLeod led the club to the playoffs, losing to Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls in the first round.

16. PAT RILEY

Years as Coach: 1991-95
Regular Season Record: 223-105
Playoff Record: 35-28

Regarded as one of the best coaches in NBA history, Pat Riley was manning the sidelines of the strong Knicks teams of the early 90’s, including the 1993-94 squad which went all the way to the NBA Finals. The Knicks had at least 50 wins every year under Riley, including a 60-22 season, which is tied for the best record in franchise history.

17. DON NELSON

Years as Coach: 1995-96
Regular Season Record: 34-25
Playoff Record: 0-0

Nelson is the only head coach in Knicks history that was hired before the start of the season and did not last the full season. Although New York was nine games over the .500 mark 59 games into the 1995-96 season, management felt Nelson’s up-tempo philosophy did not fit with the Knicks physical brand of play and the team needed to go in a different direction with its coach.

18. JEFF VAN GUNDY

Years as Coach: 1996-2001
Regular Season Record: 248-172
Playoff Record: 37-32

Van Gundy took over the coaching reigns at just 34 years old late in the 1995-96 season. He led the Knicks to great success, even reaching the 1999 NBA Finals as an 8th seed in the Eastern Conference. JVG’s 37 playoff victories are second-most in franchise history behind Holzman.

19. DON CHANEY

Years as Coach: 2001-04
Regular Season Record: 72-112
Playoff Record: 0-0

After Chaney took over for Van Gundy early in the 2001-02 season, the Knicks went 20-43 the rest of the way. Chaney never had a winning record and was relieved of his duties after a 15-24 start to the 2003-04 season.

20. HERB WILLIAMS

Years as Coach: 2004, 2005
Regular Season Record: 17-27
Playoff Record: 0-0

As an assistant, Williams took over the head coaching duties on an interim basis on two separate occasions. First, after the firing of Chaney in 2004, Williams coached just one game before the hiring of Lenny Wilkens. Then the next season, Williams became the head man for the final 43 games after Wilkens resigned.

21. LENNY WILKENS

Years as Coach: 2004-05
Regular Season Record: 40-41
Playoff Record: 0-4

Legendary player and coach Lenny Wilkens arrived in 2003, only to resign during the 2004 season. The team did make the postseason in the 2003-04 season, however, they were swept by the rival Nets.

22. LARRY BROWN

Years as Coach: 2005-06
Regular Season Record: 23-59
Playoff Record: 0-0

Despite becoming only the fourth head coach to join the 1,000-win club while with the Knicks, Brown had the lowest winning percentage of any coach in franchise history and lasted just one season in New York.

23. ISIAH THOMAS

Years as Coach: 2006-08
Regular Season Record: 56-108
Playoff Record: 0-0

Thomas was the Knicks’ President of Basketball Operations since December of 2003 before replacing Larry Brown. Thomas then was reassigned to consultant after his two full seasons as head coach.

24. MIKE D’ANTONI

Years as Coach: 2008-12
Regular Season Record: 121-167
Playoff Record: 0-4

With the hiring of D’Antoni and the additions of Amar’e Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony, the Knicks found themselves to be a winning team, making the playoffs in 2010 before being swept by the Celtics. D’Antoni later resigned in 2012.

25. MIKE WOODSON

Years as Coach: 2012-14
Regular Season Record: 109-79
Playoff Record: 7-10

After serving as an assistant, Woodson was named the interim head coach upon D’Antoni’s resignation, later being named the full-time head coach in the same season. The following season, the Knicks achieved a record of 54-28, while making it to the second round of the playoffs for the first time in 13 years.

26. DEREK FISHER

Years as Coach: 2014-16
Regular Season Record: 40-96
Playoff Record: 0-0

Immediately after retiring (last playing for the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2013), Fisher was hired by his former coach and Knicks President of Basketball Operations, Phil Jackson. He was fired following a one-and-a-half season tenure.

27. KURT RAMBIS

Years as Coach: 2016
Regular Season Record: 9-19
Playoff Record: 0-0

Kurt Rambis was an assistant coach with the club since 2014, and stepped in as interim head coach following the firing of Fisher.

28. JEFF HORNACEK

Years as Coach: 2016-18
Regular Season Record: 60-104
Playoff Record: 0-0

After Hornacek was runner-up for Coach of the Year for his work with the Suns in 2013-14, he became the Knicks’ bench boss until his exit after missing the playoffs in consecutive years.