Oded Katash agreed to a two-year deal to coach Hapoel Eilat on Thursday, subject to the club being approved as the newest member of the BSL.

BC Habika’a owner Doron Herzikowitz is in the final stages of negotiations to move the club to Israel’s southernmost city, and assuming he completes the deal as expected next week and the BSL sanctions the relocation, Katash will become the club’s first signing.

Ironically, Katash’s 18- month reign at Hapoel Jerusalem came to an abrupt ending last December following a 22-point thrashing at the hands of Habika’a.

The 37-year-old arrived at Jerusalem with lofty expectations in June 2010 after leading Hapoel Gilboa/Galil to the championship the previous season.

However, there were to be few bright spots during Katash’s time in the capital, and he threw in the towel after the team failed to make it past the first group stage of the Eurocup for a second straight time and could only manage a 6-4 record in its first 10 BSL games.

Hapoel Eilat was one of Israel’s top clubs in the 1990’s, gaining promotion to the top flight in the 1990/91 season under the guidance of current Israel coach Arik Shivek and remaining there until 1999.

Eilat recorded its greatest season in 1997/98, losing in the playoff finals to Maccabi Tel Aviv and claiming a home victory over Greek giant Panathinaikos in the round of 16 of the Eurocup before ultimately being knocked out on the road.

Financial difficulties saw the club relegated in 2000 and it was eventually disbanded before starting anew in Israel’s lowest division.

The new Eilat earned promotion to the third division, finishing in third place in the southern district last season, but it now looks set to jump two divisions and return to the top flight with a bang after clinching the signature of one of Israeli basketballs biggest names.

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