May 14-Our old friend Sekou Smith broke the news that Woodson was not going to be offered a new contract. This wasn't extremely unexpected, coming off of a very disappointing showing in the playoffs that saw the Hawks playing down to the Milwaukee Bucks in the first round of the playoffs, and failing to seriously compete with the Magic during the second round.
At this point, Dwane Casey's name was already out there, and there was speculation that former Hawk Tyrone Corbin might get an interview as well.
May 16-Dwane Casey, the current Dallas assistant, was apparently the early favorite, given his connections to Rick Sund. It was also suggested at this time that the Hawks were not very strongly looking at Larry Drew, since Hawks assistants were told they could seek other jobs during the coaching search.
May 17-Avery Johnson, the former Dallas head coach, was thrown into the mix, becoming the first to interview for the job. Later that week, Dwane Casey would also receive an interview.
At this point, the coaching search ground to a halt as the Hawks were quietly exploring other candidates under the radar, one of whom was obviously Larry Drew, as well as Dean Demopoulos. Both of those still seemed to be complete wild cards at this point. There was little enough news on the Hawks front, though Avery Johnson agreed to interview for the New Jersey Nets' vacancy.
May 29-After weeks of little news, a wild card entered the mix as NBA analyst Mark Jackson entered the mix. He was considered a long-shot in lieu of his complete lack of any coaching experience whatsoever. This kind of stuff only happens in the NBA-guys who have never coached before, anywhere, interviewing to be head coaches (remember that Larry Bird took over the Pacers without any prior experience).
June 3-A name that was widely discussed but not highly involved in the coaching talks was removed when Tom Thibodeau was on the verge of accepting the Bulls' head coaching vacancy. It appeared to be a two man race at this point, with Dwane Casey and Avery Johnson still remaining the only two candidates to receive more than one interview. Larry Drew's name did linger on in the discussion.
June 6-The Hawks schedule interviews on consecutive days for Larry Drew and Mark Jackson. The front office promised to make a final decision during the week spanning from June 6-12. This increased speculation on Mark Jackson, since he would be the last person given an interview for the position.
June 9th-Avery Johnson, somewhat surprisingly, filled the Nets' coaching vacancy. This apparently set the Hawks' front office reeling, indicating that they had anticipated getting Johnson to fill their own position. We were once again promised that the positioned would be filled by the end of the week, but it seemed unlikely given the ever-divisive opinions amongst ownership and the loss of the head coaching favorite.
June 11th-Michael Cunningham was the first to break the news that Larry Drew was the Hawks' hire. There was some immediate surprise from the fanbase, who had all along figured Johnson and Casey to be the favorites. The Hawks were seemingly driven to get a coaching staff in place before they ran their pre-draft workouts, and it was speculated that Larry Drew was the safer choice for making a quick hire.
Now, it's time for Hawks' fans to wait and see. Larry Drew describes himself as an "offensive innovator," and assures that he's got big things planned for the offense in the future. He apparently impressed Rick Sund and the ownership by drawing up some plays for them during his interview. So far, he's been saying all the right things, including admonishing Josh Smith for spending too much time jump shooting.
The team needed a fresh voice. Whether Larry Drew can be that fresh voice is too soon to tell. I will say this though-the man has paid his dues, serving for 14 years as an assistant for the Lakers, Piston, Nets, and Wizards before arriving in Atlanta.