Hantz signs off at Bastia
Frédéric Hantz has announced his resignation as coach of SC Bastia after four seasons at the club, during which he took the Corsican club all the way from the National (D3) to France's top flight.
Under Hantz, Bastia have gone from a side who finished last in Ligue 2 in season 2009-10 to an outfit who have installed themselves in mid-table over the past two seasons in the country's top flight, but on Tuesday the 48-year-old announced that he had been unable to come to an agreement with the club about an extension to his contract, which runs out this June.
The club, who have undertaken an ambitious recruitment programme over the past two seasons - luring the likes of Djibril Cissé, Ndri Romaric, Gianni Bruno and Ryad Boudebouz to the Stade Armand-Cesari - had proposed Hantz a two-year extension to his contract, but the former Sochaux and Le Havre coach baulked at the stipulation that he modify his coaching staff.
Dissatisfied with the performance of their expensively assembled forward line, Bastia's directors had asked for the replacement of Hantz's striking coach Frédéric Née and one of his physiotherapists, and when the coach proposed an extension of one with an unchanged coaching line-up, talks broke down.
"I couldn't get past that barrier. It was something very important to me. After that, being unable to resolve this issue, and after a lot of thought, I decided to call time," admitted Hantz. "So I made my decision and informed the president (Pierre-Marie Geronimi) this morning (Tuesday). Then I told the coaching staff, the club captain and finally the players.
"I believe that SC Bastia will continue to perform well, but knowing that they will do so without me there is an awful feeling. There are coaches who make their players grow, and then there are presidents who make their coaches grow as people. I spent a long time at Sporting, and that's because I had a president who understood, helped and supported me."
While coach with Hantz's track record shouldn't have too much trouble finding a new position over the summer, but for now he is focused on seeing out his tenure at SC Bastia on a high.
"The future? It has been an emotional week with Julien Sablé and Mickaël Landreau both hanging up the boots. What's important for me is to prepare well for our final-day clash with Nantes. My professional connection with the club ends with the final whistle. After that, we'll see. I'm in the fortunate position of leaving the club on a positive note and I'm proud of the legacy that I'll leave behind me."