Local Hoops: Mac Haifa brings back Ashkenazi

45-year-old coach will continue to guide the team for a third straight season.

avi ashkenazi 88 (photo credit: )
avi ashkenazi 88
(photo credit: )
Avi Ashkenazi was rewarded with a one-year contract extension on Wednesday after guiding Maccabi Haifa to the BSL and State Cup finals last season. Haifa may have lost both title games, but the 45-year-old coach's excellent work at the newly-promoted club last season didn't go unnoticed, and he will continue to guide the team for a third straight season. "I'm very happy to continue at the club. I have an excellent relationship with the owner and there was no reason to make a change," said Ashkenazi, who began his coaching career at Haifa in 1996 and returned to the club in 2007, leading it to promotion to the BSL in his first season in charge. "My first two years at the club were filled with experiences and achievements. The staff and I will do our best to continue this run of successes." Haifa owner Jeff Rosen, who brought Ashkenazi back to the club when he purchased it in 2007, said: "We are very pleased Avi is continuing as the head coach after his great work with the team last season. I have an excellent working and personal relationship with Ashkenazi. He is a coach who understands what his owner expects of him and does his best to bring results." In other Israeli basketball news, Hapoel Holon named Amir Uzi as its coach for the coming season. Uzi, who got his first chance in the BSL at Ironi Ramat Gan last season, will replace Danny Franco at Holon. Franco exceeded all expectations with the team last season, guiding it to a State Cup triumph and the BSL playoffs, but will leave after failing to reach to an agreement with the club's management.