(photo credit: Asaf Kliger)
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.
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
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.
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.