Maccabi FOX Tel Aviv announced on Saturday that Ainars Bagatskis has been hired as the team’s head coach. The contract is for the remainder of this season with a club option for the 2017-18 campaign. Bagatskis, 49, arrives from Darussafaka Dogus Istanbul, where he served as an assistant coach on David Blatt’s staff , including Friday’s 86-84 come-from-behind victory against Maccabi in Istanbul, where he had the opportunity to see his new team up close. He becomes the fourth head coach at Maccabi this season, succeeding Lior Lubin, who was named interim coach when Rami Hadar stopped down. Erez Edelshtein began the season as head coach.
Bagatskis has previous EuroLeague coaching experience with Zalgiris Kaunas, Budivelnik Kiev and Nizhny Novgorod, the latter of which he led to the 2014-15 Top 16. He has also coached SK Valmiera in his native Latvia, Enisey Krasnoyarsk in Russia, Sokhumi Tbilisi in Georgia and Kryvbasbasket in Ukraine as well the Latvian national team. Bagatskis enjoyed a two-decade career as a player, during which he played two seasons in the EuroLeague for Zalgiris and was a long-time member of the Latvian national squad.