BASKETBALL IN EUROPE
|Vincent Collet had taken over at French side Strasbourg in May 2011|
French national team and Strasbourg head coach Vincent Collet will not be setting off to pastures new anytime soon.
His new year's resolutions in a couple of weeks will include looking for fresh challenges in familiar places, as Strasbourg announced on Thursday that the two parties have reached an agreement to extend their collaboration up to 2015.
Collet's previous contract with the club was expiring next summer, before his departure for the EuroBasket in Slovenia with the national team.
While the fact that the club was happy with the work of the French coach and wanted him to remain in charge was not a secret, the announcement came as a surprise in terms of the duration of the extension.
"Before Vincent left for the Olympics, we had agreed on a contract extension for another season," Strasbourg president Martial Bellon said.
In the meantime though, negotiations with the Municipality and local public entity CUS to secure the club's finances until 2015 were fruitful.
"At the time of finalizing (the public funding agreement), I thought it would be important to tie the duration of Vincent's contract to that of the project," Bellon said.
"I therefore proposed to Vincent, not an extension of a season, but two seasons.
"Vincent agreed to the idea without hesitation. He and Pierre (Tavano, Collet's assistant) will therefore defend the colours of Strasbourg until 30 June 2015."
Strasbourg are currently tied with Poitiers in seventh place in the French Pro A standings, with five wins in ten games.
Collet will look back at 2012 as the year his employers confirmed they have full confidence in him.
The French Basketball Federation (FFBB) did its best to retain his services after the Olympics and, in late September, it was announced that the coach had agreed to lead Les Bleus to next summer's EuroBasket.
Collet could well stay at the helm of the national team beyond 2013, but the two parties will examine this option after the big event in Slovenia.
The French coach had said in an interview after the London Olympics that, at times, combining two demanding jobs was putting a strain on his personal life.
"The investment is huge for me and my family," Collet had said.
"I am also a club coach, I have to think if I can perform both functions over a long period.
"I'm not a machine. I have to think about my family, and this is what will tip the balance."
He did admit though that public comments of support from national team heavyweights Tony Parker and Boris Diaw had gone a long way towards convincing him to continue.
Collet was handed the reins of the French side ahead of EuroBasket 2009 in Poland and led Les Bleus to the silver medal at EuroBasket 2011 in Lithuania.