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The Hawks decided not to offer coach Mike Woodson a new contract, the team announced today.

Woodson coached the Hawks for six seasons. The team improved its record in each of the last five years, including a 53-29 record this season that was fifth-best in franchise history.

But Hawks management had doubts that Woodson’s approach would lead to further improvement.

“After careful consideration, we have made a difficult decision regarding Coach Woodson’s contractual status,” Hawks GM Rick Sund said in a statement. “We’re grateful for Mike’s contributions over the last six years and we want to wish him the very best.”

Woodson, 52, had a 206-286 record with the Hawks. He took over for Terry Stotts in 2004-05 after previously serving as an assistant coach in Detroit, Philadelphia, Cleveland and Milwaukee.

Woodson guided the Hawks to the playoffs in 2008, their first postseason appearance in eight years, where they lost a seven-game series to the Celtics. Last season the Hawks beat Miami in the first round before losing 4-0 to Cleveland in the semifinals. This season the Hawks beat Milwaukee in the opening round before losing in four games to the Magic by an NBA record total margin of 101 points.

Hawks forward Josh Smith said the team’s decision to part ways with Woodson despite his success is a sign of the higher expectations for the franchise.

“It feels good to know we are not just satisfied with just being the eighth seed or improving every season,” he said. “We got expectations of going to the playoffs every year and being a difference-maker in the playoffs. The organization has everything going in the right direction.”

Smith is the only player on the roster for all of Woodson’s six seasons. The two had a sometimes-contentious relationship but Smith said they had worked out an understanding.

“It was rough starting out, but everything was smooth sailing a couple of years ago once we finally figured out what we wanted out of each other,” Smith said. “You just hate to see somebody you came in the game with leave like this.”

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