- Ian Begley, ESPN Staff Writer
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Knicks GM Glen Grunwald said Mike Woodson was the only candidate for the team's head coaching job.
Grunwald said he never reached out to Phil Jackson or any other potential candidate during the interview process. The team announced Woodson's hiring on Friday night.
"I think Woody earned the right to be the first person we talked to and turned out to be the only person we talked to," Grunwald said.
"Obviously, there are some great coaches out there that, had we opened up the search, would have been called. Namely Phil Jackson, who was the most successful coach in the NBA history. We felt Woody was our guy and he showed it during the season and in our discussions after the season."
When Woodson first took over for Mike D'Antoni in mid-March, Jackson and Kentucky coach John Calipari were mentioned as potential replacements.
But there was no indication that Jackson, 66, would come out of retirement, and Calipari repeatedly has denied interest in leaving Kentucky. According to a source, New York was hesitant to reach out to Jackson because of his age and the hefty contract offer that it would likely take to entice him to take the job.
Grunwald said the team never reached out to Jackson -- or any other coach -- because Woodson followed up a strong performance on the bench with a strong interview.
"We told Woody he would get the first crack at the job and he hit it out of the park," Grunwald said.
So what did Woodson say in his interview to nail the job?
"He talked about his philosophy, how he wants to play, how he's going to use the players that we have, how we would have done maybe some things differently had we had a full session, a full training camp, things of that nature," Grunwald said.
Woodson also explained, "his approach, what his expectations and goals were for the team and how realistic he thought whether we could take the next step or not (was) and how he was going to go about doing it."
The 54-year-old Woodson, speaking on Friday night, said he wasn't concerned about Jackson.
"Tremendous coach. I know his name's been mentioned a lot, but that was not my concern," Woodson said. "My concern at the time was coaching the New York Knicks the period that I had to coach, and Mr. Dolan decided to bring me back."
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