Breakers coach quits after tough season

New Zealand Breakers coach Dan Shamir has quit with a year left on his contract and will be replaced by assistant coach Mody Maor as the club starts to rebuild after a wooden spoon Australian National Basketball League season.

Mody Maor will step up from assistant coach to head coach of the Breakers for the coming season.
Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Shamir has stepped down after three years in charge to return to Israel and reunite with extended family.

The club had been planning for Maor to succeed Shamir and said the 36-year-old coach would be focused on bringing New Zealand talent to the club.

Breakers owner Matt Walsh said Shamir was not only a great coach but a friend who will be missed.

“Dan led us through the most difficult two years in Breakers’ history and through circumstances that no other basketball team in the world had to go through,” he said.

“His work ethic and professionalism are a model for all, and I am very thankful for the last three years.”

Breakers coaches Dan Shamir and  Mody Maor.

Dan Shamir, left, with Mody Maor.
Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Maor will now lead the organisation’s rebuild with the backing of captain and four-time NBL champion Tom Abercrombie.

“Now the borders are open, Mody wants a strong focus on Kiwi talent and obviously, I want to help him in any way I can to re-establish that culture and identity,” Abercrombie said.

Maor has two years remaining on his existing contract and has been at the Breakers since 2019.

From now until the start of the new NBL season in five months’ time, the club said in a statement that Maor’s main goal was to restore Kiwi pride in the Breakers team.

“I am well aware of the Breakers’ strong legacy and am excited and honoured to be taking over as head coach,” Maor said.

“I am determined to lead the club in a way that honours that legacy and be part of a new chapter in the club’s rich history.

“We are coming off two difficult seasons in challenging circumstances, but what we really have now is a clean slate.

“There is a great Kiwi core out there for us to recruit, and you can expect an exciting team pulling on the Breakers’ jersey next season.

“We have an opportunity to rebuild, remake and reinvigorate.”

Walsh said Maor had been the “driving force” behind the development of Finn Delany, Will McDowell-White, Yanni Wetzell, Ousmane Dieng, Hugo Besson and RJ Hampton.

“His passion and excitement for the game are contagious. He has all the tools to be a great head coach and get us back to contending for championships.”

In his parting words Shamir said it had been a privilege coaching the Breakers and experiencing New Zealand culture and leaving was an extremely tough decision.

“The reason behind me leaving comes down to my family,” Shamir said.

“The past two seasons living in Melbourne have taken a toll on my wife and kids.

“It is time for me and my family to go home now, but this place will forever be part of our lives and identity.”

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