Some news from the women’s coaching ranks today for you, with one definitive career move and one seat rumored to be getting hotter.
In Lithuania, Team Lithuania/TEO Vilnius coach Rutenis Paulauskas has relinquished both duties in the hopes of taking his career to the men’s game. The national women’s team was a bit disappointing at Eurobasket 2009, managing just a 1-5 showing.
The resignation was announced after Paulauskas met with Mindaugas Balčiūnas, secretary-general of Lithuanian basketball governing body LKF.
Despite TEO Vilnius’ standing atop the table in the national league and 8-0 record, Paulauskas reportedly felt it would be easier to give up the position with the club, as TEO GM Arvydas Tamasauskas also serves as president for the women’s national team. No replacement has been named as yet; presumably, assistant coach Gecevicius Valdas will be acting coach for the team’s December 2 game against UMMC.
Candidates (or possibly candidate) for the Team Lithuania position will be discussed in next month’s meeting of the national team executive committee.
The situation with Aziz Akkaya, coach of women’s team Besiktas JK, isn’t so clear, however. The facts are these: Besiktas suffered what FIBA official press is calling a “major upset” at the hands of Armenia’s Hatis Yerevan, 87-64. This marked the first loss for Besiktas thus far in the FIBA Eurocup Women season; at 2-1, the team is now in a three-way tie with Hatis and Athinaikos in Group F. In the home league, Besiktas is at 4-2, one game back of leaders Efes Pilsen.
So is one loss – albeit quite a whupping indeed – enough to get Akkaya dismissed? Certain sources seem to think so … or at least local media is whispering.
FIBA itself reported in the wake of the defeat that “Akkaya announced he is going to resign.” The Turkish article cited, entitled “Beşiktaş şoka girdi!” (“Besiktas shocked!”) was printed in the Milliyet and consisted mostly of the briefest of game wraps. This short piece contains the line “başantrenörü Aziz Akkaya, görevini bırakabileceğini söyledi” in implying that Akkaya would step down.
Two days later, though, and no coaching change has been announced by Akkaya or the club. The writeup of the HATIS game on Besiktas’ official website contains no mention of any coaching change and all appears to be business as usual as the team prepares to take on the 4-2 Bornova. On the hot seat or not currently, one would guess that Akkaya does need a win tonight to snap his club’s three-game losing streak or the rumors may swell.