July 23 • 11:45 AM
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The Atlanta Hawks have reached an agreement with Detroit assistant Mike Woodson to become their new coach.

"They have offered the job and hopefully everything will be wrapped up sometime today and I'll be on a plane Wednesday night or Thursday morning for Atlanta," Woodson said Tuesday in a telephone interview from his home in Houston.

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Woodson said he was still completing contract negotiations with the Hawks, but considered the final details to be minor.

He said he agreed to a four-year deal to replace Terry Stotts, who was fired May 6. The Hawks finished 28-54 last season, missing the playoffs for the fifth straight year.

"We've got a lot of work to do, we're kind of starting from the bottom up," Woodson said. "What better way to put your name on something and try to build than from the bottom up?"

Woodson, a top assistant for Larry Brown with the NBA champion Pistons, was a finalist for jobs in Toronto and Philadelphia the last two years.

Woodson said he was swayed by Atlanta's new nine-man ownership group and by his longtime relationship with Hawks general manager Billy Knight.

"I think the fact you've got fresh ownership at the top now that's made a commitment to try to do this thing the right way, and you've got a great guy in Billy Knight who I've known since high school," Woodson said. "We were teammates at one time as players. He hasn't wavered one bit in terms of our friendship and I think he looked at me in that regard as well."

Knight had no immediate comment.

Woodson, 47, has been an assistant for four teams. He came with Brown from Philadelphia to Detroit for the 2003-04 season. He also played in the NBA for 11 seasons.

Woodson will become the 10th coach of the Hawks since the franchise moved to Atlanta in 1968.

Indiana assistant Mike Brown, Dallas assistant Del Harris, former Phoenix coach John MacLeod, Seattle associate head coach Dwayne Case, former Cleveland and Atlanta coach Mike Fratello also interviewed with Knight.

Knight also spoke to TV analyst Kenny Smith about the job.

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