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Story of Belgian Cats coach stops: "He belongs to our Hall of Fame"

Philip Mestdagh sees his contract terminated as coach of the national women's basketball team. He has been one of the most successful coaches ever in Belgium's women's basketball: "He belongs to our Hall of Fame". Mestdagh himself would have liked to continue:  "I am disappointed. I had plenty of energy still."

West-Fleming Philip Mestdagh (58) was at the helm of the Belgian Cats for 6 years, steering them to international success. In 2017, the Cats qualified for the European Championships for the first time in 10 years, clinching a bronze medal. One year later, they took fourth place at the World Championships. 

The team also qualified for their first Olympic Games ever recently, only just missing a place in the last four in Tokyo after a narrow last-minute defeat against hosts Japan. Mestdagh's contract ended after the Games and will not be extended. He will continue his work in the French basketball league with Saint-Amand-les-Eaux. 

"We feel it's time for a change", General Manager Koen Umans of the basketball association said. "Philip steered the Cats to the world's elite and to 6th place on the world rankings in 89 international games. We want to thank him explicitly for that, for me he belongs to our Hall of Fame." 

Philip Mestdagh himself is disappointed. "I still had plenty of motivation and new ideas. We reached our goals, but there was still room for improvement." 

It is not clear who will succeed Philip Mestdagh, who says he is "very proud of what he has accomplished with the Cats".  In 2020, he was elected Coach of the Year in a referendum including all sports, not just basketball. 

Watch Philip Mestdagh at work in this video: 

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