Israeli Baseball Says Goodbye to Head Coach Nate Fish

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Nate FishCredit: Danny Dwyer

After three years with the Israel Association of Baseball, Nate Fish, the national team head coach, will be completing his assignment and leaving his post, the sports organization announced this month.

Fish, who moved to Israel in 2013 to take over running baseball operations in Israel, will be moving back to the United States, where he will continue to pursue his baseball career. The IAB executive committee is in discussions with a number of potential candidates to decide who will take on Fish’s role.

Over the past three years, Fish injected new energy and excitement into Israel baseball and raised the professional level of both players and coaches. He introduced several highly successful programs that generated new interest in baseball, including Baseball Le’kulam, which brings together Jewish and Arab Israeli sixth graders to learn baseball together. Now in its second year, the program has proved a great success.

Fish launched the Israel Baseball Academy in 2014, which selects the top players aged 14 to 21 from around Israel and gives them intensive coaching, international competition and opportunities to try out for Major League programs in Europe. He was also instrumental in setting up the successful Masa Israel internship program, which brings American baseball players who have graduated high school or college to Israel to work in IAB baseball programs. Fish has also set up a highly professional framework for coaches throughout the country, and has instilled baseball work ethics in players of all ages that affect their lives both on and off the field.

Fish will continue to be a resource for Israel baseball from the United States and will remain on as a member of the Israel Baseball senior national team, IAB President Peter Kurz told Haaretz.

Academy director Nate Fish (left) puts Noam Calisar through a batting drill.Credit: Margo Sugarman

“Israel baseball has thrived over the past three years, and a lot of our success is due to Fish’s extremely hard work and energy,” said Kurz. “His tireless efforts and unstoppable drive created a buzz about baseball in Israel and generated new interest throughout the country. Fish has helped us to evolve into an organization that can continue to expand on the outstanding work he has already done, and we will be stronger for it. We thank him for all he has done and wish him the very best.”

“I’m really proud of everything we’ve accomplished together over the past three years,” Fish said. “I’ve watched level of play get better and better, and I am confident that the level will continue to rise. This is not goodbye, I’ll be staying in touch and helping Israel baseball in any way I can.”

Kurz told Haaretz that he has known Fish, a member of the national team, for 10 years. He said he first approached Fish with the idea of running baseball in Israel abpit for years ago. “He said, “You must be crazy,” recalled Kurz. “Then he started warming up to the idea.”

Kurz said Fish had made it clear when he came that his commitment would be for three years.

“Although after three years we didn’t reach all our goals, we certainly reached a lot of them, and in some we went beyond that,” he said. “He brought a lot of professionalism to the organization with the baseball academy and the national team program. We’ve accomplished a lot more, such as the U-12s, which came in first place in Italy last week.”