Arik Shivek was sacked by Maccabi Rishon Lezion yesterday, with the team owning a 10-10 record in the BSL after winning the local championship last season..
(photo credit: UDI ZITIAT)
Eight months after leading Maccabi Rishon Lezion to a historic championship, coach Arik Shivek was fired on Sunday.
Club chairman Itzhak Perry notified the 60-year-old of his firing over the phone, a day after Rishon fell to a 10-10 record in the BSL with an 82-68 defeat to Hapoel Jerusalem.
“Despite the great appreciation we have for Arik and his achievements, including the historic championship last year, we feel that the poor ability the team has displayed over a period of time necessitates a change,” read a Rishon press release.
Rishon was also knocked out of European competition last week, being defeated by Ludwigsburg of Germany in their playoff qualifier for a place in the FIBA Champions League round of 16.
Shivek was only hired by Rishon last April, replacing Sharon Drucker.
He went on to lead the team to a surprise win over Maccabi Tel Aviv in the Final Four semifinals before stunning Hapoel Jerusalem in the final, giving Rishon its first title in club history.
Shivek also reached the BSL final the previous year, leading Hapoel Eilat to the title game in which it lost to Jerusalem. He lasted in Eilat even less time than he did in Rishon, parting with the club after just nine months in charge.
Shmulik Brenner, who worked as Shivek’s assistant, as well as under previous coaches Drucker and Tzvika Sherf, is the favorite to take over the team, with former Maccabi Tel Aviv and Hapoel Jerusalem coach Guy Goodes also being mentioned in connection with the position.
Elsewhere Sunday, Hapoel Holon got back in track, improving to 14-6 with a dramatic 80-78 win over Hapoel Tel Aviv. Season- ending knee surgery to star guard Khalif Wyatt and a less serious knee injury to Dagan Yivzori had derailed Holon, which lost to Jerusalem in the State Cup semifinals before falling to Eilat in BSL action last week.
Holon led for most of Sunday’s encounter, but a 12-3 Tel Aviv run in the fourth quarter gave the visitors a seven-point lead (74-67) with less than five minutes to play. The hosts were on the ropes, but Tel Aviv couldn’t finish the job. With 38 seconds to play and the score tied at 78-78, Tel Aviv’s Mark Lyons missed both of his free-throw attempts after going 26-of-29 from the line in his first seven games for the team. That afforded Guni Izraeli an opportunity to become the hero, with the veteran guard scoring the game-winner off the backboard with 4.2 seconds to play.
Darion Atkins led Holon with 17 points, while Alando Tucker had 21 points for Hapoel, which fell to 10-10.
Elsewhere Sunday, Maccabi Kiryat Gat won for just the second time in 14 games, beating Hapoel Gilboa/Galil 80-66. Josh Selby scored 23 points for Kiryat Gat, which moved to 4-16 but remained in last place.
Michael Qualls scored 19 points for Gilboa, which fell to 8-12.