He was a basketball lifer, firmly settled into the scout’s peripatetic world, satisfied on the periphery of the Knicks. Red Holzman certainly wasn’t looking for a promotion on the night of Dec. 27, 1967.
But as the Knicks fell behind the defending champion 76ers by 20 points, team president Ned Irish stood up from his box seat at the old Madison Square Garden, and summoned his general manager, Eddie Donovan, and Holzman, the team’s chief scout.
“Red,” Irish declared, “I’m making a change tonight.”
Dick McGuire was a beloved figure, a Hall of Fame player and a local icon. But even he admitted he was too soft on his players, too indecisive as a coach. The Knicks were supposed to be better than 15-23. When the game ended, another Knicks loss, Donovan told McGuire he’d be switching jobs with Holzman immediately.