Aurimas Verbukas has been appointed as the new head coach of Manchester Magic’s NBL Division One team.
The Lithuanian replaces Paul Middleton and Toloe Bagheri Danaei, who have decided to step down after several successful seasons at the helm.
Aurimas, 33, has been with the club for four seasons, winning national titles with Magic’s junior programme before spending a season in charge of the Mystics junior programme.
“I’m really excited for this opportunity,” said Aurimas, aka Coach Ollie.
“Manchester Magic has a big history of success, so to be given a chance to head coach the first team at this club makes me really humble. I am really thankful.
“Paul Middleton is one of the best coaches in Great Britain and both he and Toloe have done great work for many years. To take over from them is a big honour.
“I look forward to building a team that will be a very exciting mixture of youth and experience. I also hope to see all Manchester getting behind us.”
During their time in charge, Paul and Toloe guided the Magic from Division Three to Division One, before winning eight trophies in three stunning seasons.
- 2014/15: National Trophy and National Cup
- 2015/16: National Trophy, National Cup, League and Play-offs
- 2016/17: National Trophy and Play-offs
Following the loss of some key players, this season proved to be a big challenge but almost resulted in another piece of silverware.
The Magic were beaten in the final of the Trophy by Hemel Storm before losing in the semi-finals of the Cup.
In the league, they finished eighth, before losing by a point in overtime to Loughborough Student Riders in the first round of the play-offs.
“Paul and Toloe have been instrumental in putting the Magic on the map at Division One level,” said Greater Manchester Community Basketball chief executive Phil Gordos.
“Their commitment, professionalism and passion for the club, the players and the game in general have ensured we are in great shape moving forward.
“I want to thank them for their hard work and dedication and hope they continue to think of the Magic as their club.”
The Magic will be holding trials for their Division One team in the coming weeks.
Stay tuned across the website and social media for details.