Joe Lapchick spent his entire NBA coaching career as head coach of the Knicks and reached the playoffs in every season until 1956 when Vince Boryla took over for him.
Lapchick brought the Knicks to their first NBA Finals appearance in 1951, when they lost in seven games to the Rochester Royals. After being down 3-0 in the series, Lapchick and the Knicks won three straight games to force a seventh contest in Rochester. The Royals went on to win the game 79-75 and take home the championship.
New York would return to the NBA Finals the following season. Again, the series would go to seven games. This time, the Knicks were facing the Minneapolis Lakers. After splitting the first six games, the Knicks traveled back to Minneapolis for the final game and fell just short of a championship once more.
Lapchick was not done yet, though. The Knicks would return to the NBA Finals for a third straight year in 1953, where again they faced the Lakers.
This time, however, the Lakers were just far too much for New York. Minneapolis won the series 4-1 and the Knicks saw themselves lose in the finals for a third straight season.
Lapchick never got the Knicks an NBA Championship, but his reign as coach was absolutely a successful one.