Maccabi hires Kattash to bench, Sherf as GM

Jun 05, 2007 by Print
Oded Kattash - Maccabi Elite Tel Aviv head coach Maccabi Elite Tel Aviv's failure to make it to the Euroleague's Final Four after three consecutive appearances has resulted in big changes. After parting ways with hed coach Neven Spahija in the morning, Maccabi announced on Monday afternoon that his replacement club icon Oded Kattash, who signed a three-year contract to take over the bench. "It's a big challenge,” Kattash told the Israeli press on Monday. “It's one hell of a shortcut for me, but I have plenty confidence. It's an offer you almost can't refuse. For someone who came from inside the system, like me, it's impossible to refuse when they call you. It's obvious that the goals are to make it to the Final Four and try to win the Euroleague. If you're in Maccabi, that's not even something to ask." With the change on the bench, Maccabi made another big change in the front office, hiring the club's own former coach and current Israeli national team head coach, Zvika Sherf, as general manager. The position of general manager has only rarely been filled at Maccabi, the last time more than a decade ago. Sherf, who was a member of Maccabi's coaching staff in five different occasions during his career, is identified with the club almost as much as Kattash.

Kattash grew up in Maccabi and became one of its biggest superstars during the second half of the 1990s. He moved to Panathinaikos for the 1999-2000 season, only to meet none other than Maccabi in the Euroleague title game that same season. Kattash played a key role in the deciding minutes when Panathinaikos secured the win over his former club. At the time, Kattash said: "My dream is still to win the Euroleague with Maccabi"

That was also Kattash's last Euroleague game. A subsequent knee injury resulted in several operations from which Kattash never recovered. He didn't announced his retirement for almost five years, fighting to come back, but three years ago decided it was time to move on. He took over the bench of Galil Elyon, a match that satisfied both sides. Last season, Kattash led Galil to the Final Four of the Israeli League, where it came very close to eliminating Maccabi in the semifinals. Now, at the age of 32, Kattash becomes the head coach of Maccabi.