Hapoel Bank Yahav Jerusalem named Fotis Katsikaris as its new head coach on Wednesday. The sides agreed to a three-year term. Katsikaris, 50, takes over from Simone Pianigiani, who led the club to the 7DAYS EuroCup Semifinals and the Israeli championship in his lone season with the club. Katsikaris arrives from Spanish club UCAM Murcia, which he took over in January of last season and coached to the EuroCup Top 16 and a ninth-place finish in the Spanish League. Katsikaris also coached Murcia in the 2015-16 campaign, in which the team reached the playoffs and took a game off Real Madrid in the quarterfinals before bowing out. His combined Spanish League record with Murcia was 27-22.
Katsikaris is a former EuroCup Coach of the Year; he earned the reward while taking Bilbao Basket to the championship game in 2013. Jerusalem will be the sixth EuroCup team that Katsikaris coaches in as many seasons in the competition, along with Murcia, Bilbao and Valencia Basket of Spain, Aris Thessaloniki of his native Greece and Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar of Russia. His overall record in the EuroCup is 51-23. He has also coached three seasons in the EuroLeague, for AEK Athens and Bilbao, with a record of 27-27. Additionally, Katsikaris has served as the national team coach for both Greece and Russia.
"I am very happy to join Hapoel Jerusalem," Katsikaris said in a statement. "This is an organization with a very clear vision of constant improvement locally as well as in the European competitions. I want to thank team owner Ori Allon for the opportunity to help the growth of this club. I was here last year with Loko and was very impressed by the atmosphere and fans at the arena. This time I'm on their side and I can't wait to meet them again. I'm sure we are going to have an exciting season. Now it's time to get to work! Yalla Hapoel!"