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After six seasons on job, Woodson done as Hawks' coach

By Sekou Smith, NBA.com

Posted May 14 2010 11:52AM

ATLANTA -- The Hawks parted ways with Mike Woodson Friday morning, ending his coaching tenure with the franchise after six seasons.

Woodson was informed in a Friday morning meeting with Hawks' management that that he would not be offered a new contract after leading the Hawks to three straight playoff appearances in his final three seasons.

The team is expected to make an official announcement this afternoon.

Woodson's contract expired Monday, forcing the Hawks to make a quick decision. Woodson is now free to explore his options with a half dozen coaching vacancies around the league, while the Hawks embark on a search of their own for his replacement.

Woodson led the Hawks to 37, 47 and 53 wins in his final three seasons and back-to-back appearances in the Eastern Conference semifinals, where they were swept both times. The Hawks won just 13 games in his first season, 2004-05, but improved their record in each of his five seasons after that. He finished with a 206-286 record (.419).

Woodson's 11-18 postseason record, though, is what ultimately cost him his job with the Hawks. He guided the Hawks to their first playoff appearance in more than a decade three seasons ago, when the Hawks pushed the eventual champion Boston Celtics to seven games in a first-round series.

The Hawks continued to improve in each of the next two seasons, snagging top-four seeds in the Eastern Conference playoff chase and the home-court advantage that comes with it.

But they had to win Game 7s both times, against Miami in 2009 and Milwaukee this season, before being swept in the conference semifinals by Cleveland in 2009 and Orlando earlier this week.

Complicating matters for the Hawks is the impending free agency of four-time All-Star and team captain Joe Johnson, who will join LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in the celebrated summer class of 2010.

Johnson has already stated that he will explore his options this summer, with a potential return to the Hawks being one of them. It was under Woodson that Johnson blossomed from a fourth option in Phoenix and into an All-Star anchor for the Hawks, grabbed Johnson in a sign-and-trade deal in the summer of 2005.

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