Blatt Back At Maccabi Tel Aviv

11 June 2010

Russia's national team coach David Blatt has accepted an offer to coach Maccabi Tel Aviv again.

The club has confirmed Blatt's signing of a three-year contract on their website.

Blatt, widely acknowledged as one of the best in the business after finding success at nearly every stop in his career, takes over from Pini Gershon following the veteran's recent announcement that didn't want to lead the team this season.

Gershon will take on a different role at the club.

"I'm glad to be home," Blatt said after signing his contract on Friday morning. "It's a great honor for me to continue the work done by Gershon."

"I want to return Maccabi Tel Aviv to its natural place where it should be in Israel and Europe."

Maccabi reached the Euroleague Quarter-Finals this season and had home-court advantage but were upset by Partizan Belgrade.

Their season of frustration came to an end after Galil Gilboa upset them in the Israeli play-off final.

Blatt said Maccabi would return to the top with "determination and an excellence of character" and stressed he would rely on the help of everyone who is connected to the team.

Russia Head Coach David Blatt
David Blatt will take over Maccabi after leading Russia in this year's World Championship

"There are so many people who love this wonderful club and want success, and working together, I believe we can have it," he said.

Blatt, who also coached at Galil Elyon, had a lot of success at Maccabi, as both an assistant coach to Pini Gershon and as the head man.

He coached Maccabi to Israeli league crowns in 2002 and '03, and got the club into the Euroleague Final Four in 2002 as well.

The 51-year-old Blatt has achieved even more outside the country.

He led Dynamo St Petersburg to an undefeated campaign in the FIBA Europe League five years ago.

Blatt then coached Benetton Treviso to trophies as well, including a Lega A title and Coppa Italia win.

Maybe his greatest achievement was turning Russia back into a European powerhouse.

After taking the helm in 2006, he guided the team into EuroBasket 2007 and led Russia to an upset of hosts Spain in the gold medal game.

That put the team in the Beijing Games.

Having steered Russia to a seventh-place finish at EuroBasket 2009 with a host of veterans like Andrei Kirilenko, JR Holden and Viktor Khryapa unavailable, Blatt is now poised to guide Russia at the 2010 FIBA World Championship.

The country received a wild card to take part in the 24-team competition.

Having also coached Efes Pilsen and Dynamo Moscow, Blatt earlier this year replaced Fotis Katsikaris as coach of Aris Thessaloniki and led the team to the Eurocup Quarter-Finals, and also into the Greek play-offs.




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