Pini gets back to roots at Holon, brings in Shamir

Gershon’s former assistant at Tel Aviv, Dan Shamir, was unveiled as the team’s new coach.

Pini Gershon 311 (photo credit: Adi Avishai)
Pini Gershon 311
(photo credit: Adi Avishai)
Pini Gershon said on Monday that he plans to stay at Hapoel Holon for many years as he aims to rebuild the team which he guided in one of his first coaching jobs 34 years ago.
The 59-year-old, who won three European cups as coach of Maccabi Tel Aviv as well as numerous local titles, was put at the helm of the club’s management last week and has since been working to attract sponsors to Holon as well overseeing all professional matters.
Gershon’s former assistant at Tel Aviv, Dan Shamir, was unveiled as the team’s new coach on Monday, with Dan Grunfeld, who played for Shamir at Bnei Hasharon last season, and Moran Rot announced as the team’s first two signings.
“We are looking forward to the future and not just focusing on the coming season,” Gershon said at a press conference held at Holon municipality, with city mayor Moti Sasson sitting by his side.
“We are hoping to build a good team that will battle for a place in the top half of the standings. I don’t want to create too many expectations, but I am hoping that we will be a little more than just another team that fights for its survival.”
Gershon, who hasn’t coached since being sacked by Maccabi last June, is still getting used to his new job.
“I have never asked anybody for money in my life, but here I’m calling up people and asking them to give Holon cash,” said Gershon, who also announced Monday that former Holon and Maccabi Tel Aviv player Moti Daniel will be the club’s CEO.
“In order to start this season we are working every day to get financial support and so far we have been quite successful.
“I had other things to do this year apart from helping Holon. If I hadn’t felt something special towards this club I wouldn’t be here. I hope that we can build an attractive team and that everybody will enjoy themselves.
“We have a vision, we have amazing fans and there is good energy around the club.
I need to make sure that we have a balanced budget, while also succeeding on the floor. If we make the Final Four this season we will be very happy.”
The man in charge of getting Holon to the BSL’s showcase event will be Shamir, who despite a couple of mediocre seasons at Bnei Hasharon is still regarded as one of Israeli basketball’s best coaches.
Bnei Hasharon crashed out in the playoff quarterfinals in each of the last two seasons under the 36-year-old, who was David Blatt’s assistant at Dynamo Moscow in 2008/09.
“This is definitely a landmark in my career,” said Shamir, who led Hapoel Jerusalem to back-to-back State Cup triumphs in 2007 and 2008. “There aren’t many places that have everything that Holon has to offer.
“This is a very special day for me. I worked with Pini at Maccabi for three years and he isn’t just another person for me. I never thought I would have another chance to work with him so this is a very happy day for me.”
Even though he’s only got two players signed so far and Holon’s budget this season is expected to be no more than NIS 8-7 million, Shamir is optimistic about the team’s future.
“There is a great challenge here for the short term and an even greater one for the long term,” Shamir said. “We feel that we have everything we need to build something special.”