|30 October 2012|
|David Blatt took over the Russian national team after their disappointing performance at EuroBasket 2005 |
A brilliant run for David Blatt with Russia's national team has come to an end.
The man who guided the Russians to a gold medal at EuroBasket 2007 and bronze at EuroBasket 2011 and this summer's Olympics, has decided it's time to step down.
In a statement issued by the Russian Basketball Federation, Blatt said: "With mixed feelings, I announce my retirement from the national team of Russia, a team that was a significant part of my professional life.
"My decision is based solely on my sense of what is now the right time.
"I do it for personal reasons.
"Our joint achievements are exceptional, and have historical significance.
"The impact that we have had on the development of basketball in Russia was very positive and ambitious.
"I am grateful for the invitation from the Russian Basketball Federation leadership for the opportunity to work with outstanding, talented Russian players.
"I appreciate players who work hard to fulfill my requirements, and to make sacrifices in order to win numerous awards and achievements for Russian basketball and sports.
"I am grateful to all the staff, coaches, managers and employees who have done so much in order for us to be successful and brilliantly represent our country.
"And of course, I want to thank all Russians who believed in me and took me as one of their own.
"It made me feel a part of the country and society that I represented.
"I will always remember this, and much more.
"They were a magnificent and exceptional seven years.
"I leave the position with a sense of pride and satisfaction in what is now the Russian national team at the peak of its development.
"The face of Russian Basketball is recognizable and respected throughout the world, and its future is brightly lit by our example.
"I'll miss it all. To serve and work together with you was an honor.
"Good luck and bye!"
Bringing Back The Glory Days
Also the coach of European giants Maccabi Tel Aviv, Blatt will now have more time to spend with his family during the summers.
A graduate of Princeton where he played for American coaching legend Pete Carril, Blatt took over Russia's national team after their disappointing performance at EuroBasket 2005.
After falling to Greece in the Quarter-Finals, Russia then failed to snatch a place at the 2006 World Championship when falling to Lithuania.
Their defeat to Croatia left the Russians with an eighth-place standing in the competition and led to Sergey Babkov's departure as coach.
Blatt, who had guided Dynamo St Petersburg through a perfect 20-0 season in the FIBA Europe League in the 2004-05 basketball campaign, was offered the chance to lead Russia's national side and he jumped at the opportunity.
|Russia were crowned champions at EuroBasket 2007, stunning hosts Spain in the gold medal game|
After steering them through a successful qualifying campaign for EuroBasket 2007, Blatt took the national side to Spain and pulled off one of the greatest shocks in European basketball history.
With Andrei Kirilenko, JR Holden and Viktor Khryapa excelling, Blatt's Russia stunned world champions Spain in the Final to capture gold and qualify for the Olympics.
Blatt had indicated earlier this summer at the Olympic Qualifying Tournament, where Russia went unbeaten to reach the London Games, that 2012 was likely to be his last run with the national team and so it has proved to be.
The president of the basketball federation, Alexander Krasnenkov, had hoped Blatt would remain in charge.
He only had positive things to say about the former coach.
"We thank David for his work," he said.
"Under his leadership, the Russian team has achieved great success and regained a leading position in European and world basketball.
"These victories we have allowed us to make contact with the glories of past generations, reviving and continuing their winning tradition.
"But it would be wrong to assess the coach's work only in terms of results.
"In addition to the achievements of the national team, David's program was designed to work with young players, and spurred not only by the progress of the main players, but also the nearest reserve.
"We greatly appreciate the contribution of David Blatt to the development of Russian basketball, and we wish him all the best!"
Russia have yet to announce the candidates for his replacement.