Le Mans team profile

Jun 27, 2007 by Euroleague.net Print
Le MansLe Mans Sarthe Basket is one of the oldest teams in France and has a long story to tell. Its first trophy was conquered over 40 years ago, in 1964, when it took the national cup of France. The club proved its commitment to consistency by returning to the cup final again the next season and once more in 1970. The fan base often grew to almost 8,000 in those years with devoted followers of players like Christian Baltzer and Pierre Cordevant. By the middle part of the next decade, its efforts started to show in the French League, too, where success started coming to Le Mans in flurries. Le Mans followed its first national title in 1978 - with Baltzer back as club president, Bill Sweek as coach, Lloyd King and James Lister as stars - with another one in 1979. The club made it to three more finals, but had to settle for runner-up. That only motivated the club to win a third title in 1982, a victory that was short-lived when coach Bob Purkasher was killed in a car accident after the season. A descent into second division followed, ending in 1991, and it wasn’t long before Le Mans was on the rise again. Some of the best French players – including Herve Dubuisson, Eric Beugnot, Stephane Ostrowski and Jean-Claude Sylva – have worn the Le Mans jersey, as have top foreigners such as King, Floyd Allen, Larry Lawrence and Huseyin Besok.
2006-07 RESULTS
Euroleague
R. Season
4-10
French League
R. Season
21-13
Playoffs
Quarters
In 2002-03, Le Mans finished third in the French League regular season, which set up its outstanding 2003-04 campaign. Le Mans won the French Cup and, for the first time in more than two decades, finished first in the French League regular, although it lost in the playoff semifinals. Its ULEB Cup season was bittersweet too, as Le Mans missed the playoffs by a single victory. Le Mans was second at the end of the 2004-05 domestic regular season, but again had an early playoff exit and again saw a single defeat prevent it from reaching the ULEB Cup elimination rounds. The best was yet to come, however. In an historical 2005-06 season, Le Mans won both the French League and Semaine des As titles by playing crowd-pleasing basketball under Vicent Collet, a Le Mans legend after 16 seasons as a player and coach. That success led to its first Euroleague appearance, in 2006-07, when Le Mans acquitted itself well by winning two early road games and then challenging for the Top 16 right up until the next-to-last regular season game. No one will be surprised if Le Mans remains one of the most attractive teams to watch in its second Euroleague season.