By Aline Chatel
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Fabrice Courcier hopes to get out the front door. The coach of Caen Basket Calvadoswhose contract will expire at the end of the current season and has not been renewed by the club, dreams of accomplishing his ultimate goal with the CBC: going up to Pro B. On the eve of facing Poitiers this Friday May 13, 2022 to try to reach the semi-finals of the playoffs, he talks about his last weeks at the club and a future which, for the moment, does not worry him.
For a coach, is the current period the most fulfilling?
I think that we are all in the same dynamic, we take great pleasure in playing these playoffs, because we started them well, because we are in a more than positive dynamic, because we realized that there was an effervescence and a general mobilization here. If we stop on my function, we get into matches where we have to regulate details on the strategic plan. It requires being even more picky to find the opponent’s flaw or the little thing that will make us better. It is an exhilarating time.
However, these are your last matches with Caen.
I do not know what was the trigger for me to be told, in mid-March, that I was not the man who was going to carry the project in future seasons. It was not easy to digest at the time. Once I digested this ad, I stuck to my principles. My goal has always been to have the best season possible. This is of interest for the team, for the club but also for me. This common interest drives me every day.
What was your reaction when the club told you that you were not renewed?
There was a misunderstanding about the brutality of the announcement. During the first interview, at the end of December, I was presented with the new project and told that I was one of the candidates, rather at the top of the bill. During the second, mid-March, I am told that it is not possible. I did not expect, when we were not well at the time, that I was told a new contract. But I was also not prepared to hear such a decision.
I would have preferred to be given an ultimatum. There, there was nothing. What credit have I been offered compared to last season? Nevertheless, I have no bitterness. Just because I’m no longer in the project doesn’t mean I renounce everything I said about this exciting project. It’s part of our job. I will have spent three and a half years here, I can thank the leaders for the confidence they have given me.
“But the team will play at what level? »
What was the next step?
I quickly came back to what I do all the time. I’m not trying to get glory out of it, I’m not trying to be above the fray, rather I have a strong relationship with the players, I’m trying to stay the course about the goal set for me. I said to myself: “be smart enough not to give up”. Honesty is going all the way.
Every time we have a quality in the game, the players make me happy. And today, anything is possible. It can them [les dirigeants] cause issues. The coach has been appointed for quite some time, they are already recruiting. But the team will play at what level? We may not know until June 12… In the current period, the – exciting – project can become stressful in the event of a rise to Pro B.
When did you learn the name of your successor?
I knew it before it was communicated on the networks, I did not know it was going to come out at that time. I’m not making a big deal out of it. I simply have difficulty in perceiving the interest of this advertisement. The new team is already working on recruitment. The agents know very well that it is Stéphane Eberlin who will train this team. Is it to warn the supporter who comes to encourage the team? Today, I think it interests him little. What interests him is what happens on the ground.
“If I had been a little more selfish…”
You initially had to save the club in Pro B and then allow it to come back up. So far, the goal has not been achieved. However, you benefit from an immense sympathy capital in Caen. What inspires you?
I like to have a certain closeness with people. I think it’s important to make people feel that I enjoy being where I am and that I enjoy my daily work. They see that I’m not necessarily someone who tells stories or who is above others, but rather someone with whom we can discuss. I was very touched by the volunteers, who wanted to give me a gift during the last match. For twenty years that I have been coaching, I have always attached importance to this human dimension.
Afterwards, there may be a little frustration in my career. I did the Jeep Elite, I did the Euroleague, I coached in Pro B, I coached in the Women’s League and today I am in N1. There is, in a tiny part of me, this frustration of not being up there. I’m happy to be who I am, but I think that if I could have been a little more selfish and behaved like some people behave, I might not be where I am today.
But would you be happier?
I do not think so. I don’t move forward with yesterday, I don’t move forward with regrets, I move forward with tomorrow. What can free me from a certain pressure in relation to my future is that I’m not sure of finding something tomorrow.
Why does this free you from a certain pressure?
Because I’m not focused on it. I don’t have this fear of finishing my stint in Caen, of perhaps participating in my mission – bringing them to Pro B – and of not having a contract on June 15. But that can happen.
Why doesn’t that scare you?
I moved on to something else. This can scare me on the one hand, because I wonder what I’m going to do, but I don’t want to say to myself: “Fabrice, you’re making a quarter-final against Poitiers but you don’t have a club, active – you, do interviews! “. I would take the lead in selling myself to another club, to give me additional pressure, in what interest? Today, I think I have done enough things for a club that wants to work with me to contact me. If no club asks me, maybe I’ll start the season by training and I’ll sign in January, like when I arrived in Caen.
I asked my agent not to call me to let me know of a possible interest. On the other hand, I still see that many doors are closing (smile). Today, the priority is to go as far as possible with this team. When I walk my dog, I sometimes get challenged by people I meet. They all tell me: “we have to win, we have to come back and play here!” We feel that something is being created.
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