Basketball / Israelis Abroad / Blatt Stepping Down as Russian National Coach

David Blatt, 53, is considered Russia's best post-Soviet coach. His squad stormed to a gold medal in the 2007 European Championships in Spain with a win over the hosts.

David Blatt announced on Tuesday he is not renewing his contract as head coach of Russia's national basketball team.

Blatt, 53, is considered Russia's best post-Soviet coach. His squad stormed to a gold medal in the 2007 European Championships in Spain with a win over the hosts.

The American-Israeli also guided Russia to third place in the 2011 European Championships and to a bronze medal in the 2012 London Games.

Blatt, who also coaches Maccabi Tel Aviv, said on the Russian Basketball Federation's official website that the team was a big part of his career. His decision was based solely on the personal feeling that it was the right time to leave, he explained.

He thanked not only the players and fellow coaching staff members but also Russia's citizens, who he said believed in him and accepted him as one of their own. That welcome made him feel a part of society and the country, he said.

Reuters