German basketball club Alba Berlin hired Israeli Muli Katzurin as their new coach until the end of the season to replace the recently fired Luka Pavicevic. And the new coach will make his debut on January 27, 2011 in the Eurocup at home against Panellinios Athens.
The move was very welcomed by Alba Berlin fans who have been calling for Pavicevic’s firing for some time now, especially in the aggravating three-game losing streak earlier this season. Pavicevic arrived in the German capital in the summer of 2007, taking over a title-hungry team looking for its first German BBL crown since 2003.
Pavicevic gave Alba their title in 2008 but a regular season crown in 2009 resulted in a semi-final exit in the playoffs and then Berlin were bounced in the first round of the 2010 playoffs after finishing second during the regular season.
And a 13-6 start to the 2010-11 season was enough for Alba and now comes the 56-year-old Katzurin, who resigned from his five-year contract as technical director with the Israeli Basketball Federation to join Alba Berlin until the end of the season.
Katzurin has been a successful coach in the past, winning the Israeli league in 1994 and 1995 with Maccabi Tel Aviv as well as three Israeli Cups with Galil Elyon (1988 and 1992) and Maccabi (1994). He also led Slask Wroclaw to the Polish league title in 2000 and Polish Cup in 2004. Then he dominated the Czech Republic with CEZ Nymburk, capturing four straight league-cup doubles from 2007 to 2010. Nymburk also reached the quarterfinals of the EuroCup in 2010.
Katzurin also served as Israeli national team coach from1997 to 2004 and the coached the Polish national team from 2007 to 2009.
“With Muli Katzurin we were able to acquire our preferred candidate very quickly. Now we have to re-orientate ourselves as quickly as possible and attack with the goal of getting the best out of our possibilities,” said Berlin general manager Marco Baldi.
“I am very happy about Berlin and my job with Alba. I have followed this team for many years. Alba is one of the leading organization in European basketball. It is a big challenge for me to lead the club to success,” said Katzurin about the up-coming job.