Oded Katash officially takes over Greek basketball club Panathinaikos

Israeli basketball icon completes tenure at Hapoel Jerusalem • Lithuanian Adomaitis steps in

OUTGOING HAPOEL JERUSALEM coach Oded Katash will take over the sidelines at Greek club Panathinaikos while he remains in charge of the Israel National Team. (photo credit: DANNY MARON)
OUTGOING HAPOEL JERUSALEM coach Oded Katash will take over the sidelines at Greek club Panathinaikos while he remains in charge of the Israel National Team.
(photo credit: DANNY MARON)
Oded Katash has been named the new head coach of Greek basketball club Panathinaikos and will take over the helm on Friday night when the Athens based club tips off against Fenerbahce in Istanbul.
The 46-year-old Israeli bench boss has been in charge of Hapoel Jerusalem for the last three seasons, during which he captured two Israel State Cups along with a Winner Cup while advancing to the Israeli League Final Four three times.
This will be the second time Katash gets a chance to guide a Euroleague team, with the first coming back in 2007 when he was the Maccabi Tel Aviv bench boss for half a season.
After a knee injury cut Katash’s playing career short he began his coaching career in 2004 with Hapoel Galil Elyon, with his lone Israeli league championship came in 2010 with Hapoel Gilboa/Galil. Katash, who is also the head coach of the Israel National Team, has managed Hapoel Eilat, Hapoel Tel Aviv as well as the Israel Under-20 National Team over the course of his career.
Katash, who starred as a player for Panathinaikos back in 1999-2000 as he helped the Greens win the Euroleague title against his former team Maccabi Tel Aviv, is still viewed as a legend with the club. In addition, some of his former teammates are now in management positions, including GM Fragiskos Alvertis and Georgios Kalaitzis, who is the team manager.
Both Alvertis and Kalaiztis were extremely influential in bringing Katash back to the OAKA Arena after the Israeli had initially preferred to stay with Hapoel Jerusalem.
In his final game as Jerusalem coach, Katash’s Reds fell 78-77 in dramatic fashion to Turk Telekom in Champions League action on Wednesday night, which may cost the club a chance to qualify for the playoff round.
“Of course we wanted the finish to be different,” noted Katash. “I hope the players can do the job and also do it for me. I was really honored to be a part of this club. From management, the players and the fans, it was special. It hasn’t been an easy week for me with a lot of emotions. I’m going to a big challenge, to a team, city and fans that I know well. You need some luck that things will go the right way and I feel that I am ready because of my time in Jerusalem. I experienced a lot here and these were some great years in which I was part of a family.
“The players that were here with me over the last 2.5 years were just amazing and there will always be feelings of missed opportunities but I will always feel a part of Jerusalem. It’s a challenge to take over a team in the middle of the season and I wish the chance to coach Panathinaikos would have come in the summer, but you never know when these opportunities come around, there are a lot of challenges ahead.”
Taking over for Katash at Hapoel will be the former Lithuania National Team head coach Dainius Adomaitis, who was most recently in charge of Rytas Vilnius.
Jerusalem’s new bench boss has also been in charge of Neptunas Klaipeda and Juventus Utena in Lithuania as well as Polish clubs Czarni Słupsk and Anwil Włocławek. Adomaitis led the Lithuanian National Team in both the 2019 World Cup in China and the 2017 Eurobasket which included their group stage games being played in Israel.
Adomaitis was introduced on Thursday afternoon and is ready to get right to work.
“I know that the word ‘adom’ in Hebrew means Red and that’s a good start. I want to congratulate Oded Katash on his new position and I want to thank the heads of the club for the opportunity. I’m really happy that I am here, it’s a big honor to be the coach of Hapoel Jerusalem. I’ve coached here before and I am familiar with the atmosphere."
“Israel is one of the most beautiful countries and as a player I played here many times whether in Tel Aviv or in Jerusalem. People in the country have always been nice and helpful and my entire family was here for the 2017 European Championship. They said that if I ever receive the offer to come coach in Israel, we will go and that was good advice. I’m happy to be here.”
Adomaitis will have his first test behind the Jerusalem bench on Sunday when he makes his debut in Balkan league action against Maccabi Rishon Lezion.