Local Basketball: Coach Shamir quits Hapoel J'lem

Assistant coach Ziv Erez to take temporarily charge while the club looks for a permanent replacement.

dan shamir 88 (photo credit:)
dan shamir 88
(photo credit: )
Hapoel Jerusalem coach Dan Shamir announced his resignation on Thursday morning, following five straight league defeats and after less than two seasons in charge. Tuesday's 82-75 home loss to bottom of the table Maccabi Rishon Lezion, after which the home supporters screamed at Shamir to resign, was the last straw for the coach who had grown up at the Jerusalem team. He will temporarily be replaced by his assistant Ziv Erez, while the club looks for a permanent coach. Last week there were rumors in the Hebrew press that former Maccabi Tel Aviv and Hapoel Jerusalem coach Pini Gershon would be coming to take over at Jerusalem after he was sacked by Greek team Olympiacos earlier this year, but these have not been substantiated. Shamir, who came to the capital following a stint as assistant coach to Gershon at Maccabi Tel Aviv, had brought success and failure to Jerusalem nearly in equal measure. Last season the team in red had come within a second of winning its first league championship in history and a famous league and cup double, and this season beat Maccabi Tel Aviv in one of the greatest State Cup finals ever. But the inconsistency his team has had in local league and European play turned out to be his downfall. While Hapoel continued to celebrate winning a second consecutive cup final in February, the team tumbled out of the ULEB Cup at the last 32 stage and began losing BSL games at an alarming rate. Sitting in the press room at the Malha Arena after Tuesday's game against Rishon, Shamir appeared to be at a loss to explain what could be done to improve the fortunes of the team he loves but which found itself in seventh position. While keeping up his usual tough exterior, Shamir looked visibly upset by the vicious curses directed at him as the final buzzer was sounded. The management could not accept Jerusalem, the second highest payers in the Basketball Super League, looking like it might not even make it to the end of season BSL Final Four, although they were expecting Shamir to continue to the end of the season. However, in a statement released by the club on Thursday at 11:25 a.m. it was made known that Shamir had quit his job. Speaking to Army Radio, Hapoel Chairman Danny Klein described Shamir as a coach "who was a believer" and a "hard worker." "The moment that Dan saw that he was not able to influence the team as he wanted to he got up and left," Klein explained on Thursday. "Yesterday he requested a meeting with me. I told him he does not need to leave and even that he has to stay. Dan asked for more time to think about it and in the morning he told me he would not be continuing." While Shamir found some success, he had consistently been criticized for not working with the players on a personal level but rather being far more technical with his team.