Blatt steps down as coach of Russian nat'l squad

The Maccabi Tel Aviv coach decides to call it a day after his greatest achievement at London 2012.

October 31, 2012 05:14
1 minute read.
David Blatt coaching Russian nat'l team

David Blatt coaching Russian nat'l team 370 (R). (photo credit: Ray Stubblebine / Reuters)

Two months after guiding the Russia national team to an Olympic bronze medal, David Blatt announced on Tuesday that he was leaving the side after seven years.

The Maccabi Tel Aviv coach, who moved to Israel from Boston 31 years ago, accomplished remarkable success with the previously underachieving side, but decided to call it a day after his greatest achievement at London 2012.

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“With mixed emotions I announce my retirement from coaching the Russian national team,” Blatt said.

“The Russian team has been a big part of my professional life.

“Our joint accomplishments were outstanding and historic and their effect on Russian basketball was tremendous.”

Russia hadn’t finished any higher than fifth in its four European Championship appearances before Blatt took charge, failing to even qualify for the 2004 Athens Olympics.

However, Blatt led Russia to the European title in his first major tournament with the team in 2007, also taking a bronze medal in EuroBasket 2011 as well as finishing ninth at the 2008 Beijing Games.

“These were seven beautiful and amazing years,” Blatt said.

“I retire today from the Russian national team with my head held up high and with Russian basketball at its peak.

“I’m certain that Russian basketball has a bright future.”

Alexander Krasnenkov, Russian Basketball Federation president, thanked Blatt for his contribution.

“Under Blatt’s guidance, Russia made amazing progress and regained its place at the top of European and world basketball,” Krasnenkov said.

“However, it would be a mistake to appreciate Blatt’s work only according to the results of the national team.

“As well as the great achievements of the senior team, Blatt also led a program to help develop the next generation of Russian basketball.”

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