History - Maccabi Haifa Basketball Club
The Maccabi Haifa basketball team was one of the original eight teams to form the Israeli top division in the 1953-54 season. In the 60’s and 70’s, the Greens were a force in the city, with Haim (Ixy) Bochbinder under the baskets. Back in the Eighties, Romema Arena was consistently full and even the “Yellows” from Tel Aviv were scared to visit there. Games between Maccabi and Hapoel Haifa were well known and stars like Adi Gordon, Doron Shefa, Ari Rosenberg, Tomer Steinhauer, Assaf Barnea, Korn Amisha and others were part of the basketball experience in Haifa. However, after the glory days the team’s stature began to fade.
In the late 90’s, the team returned to become a municipal club – B.C. Haifa. This team even succeeded to defeat Maccabi Tel Aviv and finished fourth in the premier league in 2000-01 and 2001-02. Unfortunately, B.C. Haifa dissolved in 2005. A year after, Ilan Beck put Haifa’s adult professional team back on the map. His first action was to turn the feeder team of the club, Maccabi Bat Galim, which played in the third league, into the adult team of the club and changed the name to Maccabi Haifa. During the 2006-’07 season, the team was promoted from the third league to the second league, the national league. At the beginning of this season, 2007-’08, Jewish–American businessman Jeff Rosen purchased the team, setting the target of promoting to the first division in one season. The goal was achieved after a thrilling season for the Greens in which the team finished in second place.
In 2008-09, Jeff Rosen’s first season in the first division, the team reached the Israeli State Cup and the Israeli League Final, finishing runner-up in a tough contest against Maccabi Tel Aviv. In the 2009-10 season, the Greens finished in fourth place, but did not reach the final four after losing 3-1 in the quarterfinal series against Barak Netanya. In the 2010-11 season, the team moved to play in Nesher, due to a two-year renovation project at Romema Arena. The Greens struggled, finishing at the bottom of the league, but remained in the first division after defeating Irony Ashkelon in a relegation series. During the 2011-12 season, the Greens remained at Nesher and again the team struggled, finishing at the bottom of the league.
The 2012-13 season marked a new page for Maccabi Haifa. The Greens returned to their newly renovated Romema Arena with a 5,000 seating capacity, making it the second largest indoor arena in Israel. The fans came back to the gates as the team featured an impressive roster including Gal Mekel, Donta Smith, Pat Calathes, James Thomas, Paul Stoll and many others. The Greens reached the Israeli State Cup Final, and led until the last minutes of the game, before the Yellows from Maccabi Tel Aviv stormed back to win the game. Maccabi Haifa finished in second place in the league, after a dramatic come-from-behind victory over Hapoel Eilat in the last regular season game. The Greens steamrolled through Gilboa Galil in the quarterfinals sweeping the series 3-0, and edged Hapoel Eilat in the decisive fifth game of the semifinals, setting a new attendance record of 4,800 Green fans at Romema Arena. The Israeli Super League Final game was held at Romema Arena for the first time and the fans broke another attendance record, selling out the 5,000 seat arena. The Greens played an inspiring game in the Final, defeating powerhouse Maccabi Tel Aviv, 86-79, to win their first championship in franchise history.
In the season of 2014/15, the Greens started stuttering and failed to connect consecutive wins and could not win out. The game that brought the turn, was a game outside Nahariya, where the Greens won 69-83 with only two foreigners on the roster. From this stage Maccabi advanced and managed to reach the third round with a realistic chance of qualifying for the playoffs. In the third round, the Greens set an impressive 3-8 record, which included seven consecutive home wins and a quarter-final against Hapoel Eilat. The quarterfinals were particularly tense, with each team winning in their home and in the fifth and decisive game held in Eilat, the Greens lost and finished their way in the league. In that season, Maccabi was very close to the cup finals, when Maccabi safely led Maccabi Tel Aviv in the cup semifinals, but the yellows managed to equalize and finally win and oust the Greens in the semifinals. This season the team led three players who went on for another season: Captain Dagan Yevzori, the excellent power forward who returned from injury, Ike Opeivo and Moran Roth who returned after the opening of the season. In addition, the Greens presented a number of new players, including Rene Rojo and Will Graves.
The second season with Rami Hadar on the green lines began in contrast to previous seasons, with no expectations in the sky and finals. The Greens who continued with Dagan Yevizori, Moran Roth and Will Graves and others landed two of the best players in green over the past decade, Gregory Vargas and John Dibertelo. With them, Rami Hadar’s team was a tough defense team that made life difficult for any team that ran against it. The Greens finished third in the regular season. Like last season, the Greens were arrested in the playoff quarter-final against the Orangeers from Rishon Letzion. After two losses to Orange, Maccabi compared the series that went to last and decisive game in Romema. The Greens did not withstand the pressure and did not succeed in crossing the quarter-finals with Rami Hadar.
This season, no one in the Maccabi Haifa Hunter did not watch, the Greens that parted from Rami Hadar and promoted coach Ofer Rahimi, the veteran coach who also won the championship with the team. Returned to the position of assistant coach one of the great past players of the club Tomer Steinhauer. The season was full of vicissitudes as befitting the season with a coach who for the first time was on the sidelines as coach. The Greens finished eighth in the regular season and received the last ticket to the playoffs. The quarterfinal series arranged for Hapoel to be the leading contender for the championship. But Maccabi Haifa of that season had final plans led by John Dichterlumau, Gregory and Vargas Oz Blazer Amit Simhon and others. After two straight years in which the Greens are eliminated in the fifth game this time Maccabi finished the story in the fourth game when for the first time in the history of the league a team from the 8th place ousted the leader of the table in the first round of the playoffs. The Greens continued from there to the Final Four where they met Maccabi Tel Aviv and with a push of thousands of fans at Menorah Mivtachim Park, the Greens stunned the yellows from Tel Aviv and proved that Maccabi has Haifa and the giants!
In the final of the greens they met Amara Stadomayer’s Jerusalem, Yotam Halperin and others, after an equal first half, the Jerusalemites took the lead and the championship. Maccabi, who reached the season without expectations, finished her as the second-in-command with a lot of respect and with thousands of fans who filled Romema’s stands during the season and in the playoffs, when in the final close to 5,000 green fans pushed the team almost to the end.
Maccabi opened the season as the country’s second-in-command as the coaching team that brought the feat last season remained on the sidelines as the cast went through a facelift with the departure of the two stars, Vargas and Dibertlumo, when Will Graves found himself out of the club early in the season. The new team led by Angel Rodriguez Bowman and others did not help, and the next and release players during the season, such as Frederic Bordillion, Goni Izraeli and others did not help the Green Club. A few games before the end of the season, with Maccabi in the last place in the league with a slim chance of remaining, the Greens parted in a joint decision from the coach who brought them to the final last season. Barak Peleg, who came after four successful seasons in the national league with Raanana, has struggled to the last minute when the change in the coach’s position has not helped, and the Greens are down after a decade of success in the Premier League.