On This Date: Lenny Wilkens resigns

January 22nd 2005: Lenny Wilkens resigned as head coach of the New York Knicks

The Lenny Wilkens era lasted just over one year as he abruptly resigned from the Knicks. After leading the Knicks to a playoff berth in the 2003-04 season, Wilkens faced strong headwinds once the new year hit. The Knicks started the season 16-13, but then lost 9 of the next 10 games. The losing streak happened right when Stephon Marbury foolishly boasted that he was the greatest point guard in the NBA. The remarks came on the eve of the Knicks matchup against Jason Kidd and the New Jersey Nets.

Despite being a Brooklyn native, Wilkens never fully acclimated to the high level of scrutiny coaching in New York City. Wilkens spent most of his tenure caring for his mother who was seriously ill. Additionally, Wilkens never had the luxury of building his own coaching staff with the Knicks. Upon his hire, Lenny inherited three assistant coaches including Greg Brittenham, Herb Williams, & Nuggets Coach Mike Malone. Isiah subsequently added Mark Aguirre and George Glymph to the coaching staff. Wilkens was only able to add Dick Helm to his coaching staff, but Isiah fired him shortly after the 2004-05 season and Brendan Suhr replaced him. The conditions around his coaching staff definitely wasn’t ideal for any head coach.

Herb Williams replaced him as interim coach for the rest of the season.

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