Avtodor part ways with Mazurs, hand reins to coach Mokin
SARATOV (Basketball Champions League) – Regular Season Group B participants Avtodor Saratov and head coach Nikolajs Mazurs have reached an agreement by mutual consent to terminate their collaboration, the Russian club announced on Monday. In the same statement, Avtodor confirmed that Sergei Mokin will assume charge of the team with immediate effect.
The swift decision came in the wake of Avtodor’s 83-78 defeat at Astana on the opening day of the new VTB United League season at the weekend. “Due to the poor performance in the first official game, we decided we will not continue to tempt fate and will instead go back to the proven option that is Sergei Mokin as our head coach,” Avtodor president Vladimir Rodionov explained in the statement.
“[Coach Mokin] knows the club well and understands the fast-paced basketball that Avtodor played during his previous tenure as head coach here. We believe that at the moment no other coach has Mokin’s charisma and his understanding of the philosophy of the game,” the president added.
The 60-year-old Mokin was at the helm of Avtodor during the 2014/15 season and guided the team to a 9-9 record in the VTB League as well as into the quarter-final stage of the EuroChallenge. The following year he assumed the reins of BC Samara but returned last summer to Avtodor to take charge of the youth teams’ infrastructure.
Mokin, who is renowned for his work with young players, had previously been at the helm of Avtodor’s predecessor, Avtodorozhnik Saratov, during a five-year period starting in 1989. He has also served on the coaching staff of the U16 Russian national team.
In Group B, Avtodor will go up against Israeli champions Maccabi Rand Media Rishon, Umana Reyer Venezia, Kataja Basket, Khimik, Pinar Karsiyaka, Le Mans Sarthe as well as the winner of this week’s Qualification Round 2 tie between Lukoil Academic Sofia and CSM Oradea.