(photo credit: Courtesy)
The appointment of David Blatt as Maccabi Tel Aviv coach Pini Gershon’s
replacement moved a step closer on Monday.
After meeting with the club’s
management, Blatt, a former Maccabi Tel Aviv coach, appeared positive
likelihood of the two sides coming to an agreement.
“I really hope that
this time it will happen,” he said, referring to a number of occasions
years where his name has been mentioned but other coaches have been
“Maccabi Tel Aviv is a special club which needs a change. I believe I
Despite heavy investment in both players and coaching staff last
summer, the yellowand- blue finished a disastrous season under Gershon
under two weeks ago by losing in the BSL championship final to underdog
Having already been ousted from the Euroleague at the
quarterfinal stage by Partizan Belgrade, Gershon had no choice but to
Blatt, who coached Maccabi for two years from 2001- 2003,
has built an impressive resumé since leaving Israel, including winning
EuroBasket title as coach of the Russian national team and leading
St. Petersburg to the FIBA Eurocup title.
Born in Boston in 1959,
Blatt moved to Israel in 1981 after playing for the US at the Maccabiah
“There is no doubt that with the quality people within the Maccabi
management there is a great possibility to move the team forward,” said
who also spent three years as Gershon’s assistant.
“I had five great years
at Maccabi so I know how special it is. So if everything works out, then
be coming home.” But Blatt warned that this is not the first time he has
discussed the possibility of becoming Maccabi coach in recent years so
is certain until a deal is done.
Maccabi co-owner David Federman told
reporters that he was satisfied with the discussions with Blatt.
thinking and we are thinking and within a few days we will know where we
going,” Federman said after the meetings. “We want David at Maccabi.” If
does complete his negotiations to the satisfaction of both sides, he is
to bring more Israeli players into the fold than have been on the team
years, with former Maccabi star Tal Burstein rumored to be on the brink
return to Yad Eliyahu.
Blatt is believed to be demanding a salary in the
region of $400,000 for his first season in charge.
Jerusalem’s management has been making progress in its search for a
replace Guy Goodes.
Israel national team coach Arik Shivek is favored to
take the job and was due to meet with Hapoel representatives on Tuesday.