Arik Alfasi passed away on Wednesday at the age of 49 due to complications from COVID-19. The Israeli basketball world fell into mourning as the news made its way around the country and beyond.
Alfasi began his coaching career with Hapoel Ashkelon in the Limit League and was promoted to the top division in 2009 and earned the “Coach of the Year” award in 2010 with Netanya. He returned to Ashkelon and also was man assistant with the Israel National Team and coached in the youth system as well.
The bench boss also coached Maccabi Ashdod and had some wonderful seasons up north with Nahariya while also having coached Hapoel Eilat. Most recently he was in charge of Hapoel Ashkelon where he attempted to help the team move up to the Premier League.
Niv Misgav who played under Alfasi in Nahariya during the 2018/19 season said, “This is a very sad day for Israeli basketball. Arik was a person that was so easy to get to know and was above all a friend, a good person and someone who was extremely intelligent. I want to send my condolences to the family and I know that I will always remember Arik.”
Gal Galinski played under Alfasi in the National Team youth system, “This is so hard to believe. He was such a good person first and after that an excellent coach. This is a great loss for Israeli basketball.”
On a personal note, Dov Halickman The Sports Rabbi’s photographer remembers this anecdote after one of the club’s games: “A few years ago after a press conference, Arik Alfasi stayed to talk for a while with a group of children who had been struggling and he spoke with his heart and soul to them. Afterwards he told us how much he enjoys working with the community and how important it was for him. He was much more than just basketball. May his memory be a blessing.”
לפני כמה עונות לאחר מסיבת עיתנואים, אריק אלפסי נשאר לשוחח אל תוך הלילה עם ילדים המתמודדים יום יום עם קשיים רבים ודיבר אליהם מהלב והציע להיפגש שוב בעתיד. לאחר מכן הוא סיפר לנו על האהבה שלו לפעול בקהילה ועל כמה שזה חשוב לו. הרבה יותר מכדורסל. יהי זכרו ברוך. pic.twitter.com/tGfMsdH2ik
— Dov Halickman (@dovster9) September 22, 2021