Maccabi TA’s golden boy back in the fold

Oded Katash the latest yellow-and-blue icon to return, with former star hired for 2nd stint as coach

 ODED KATASH’S first time as the coach of Maccabi Tel Aviv – in 2007 – lasted less than a year. However, the club’s 47-year-old former superstar has been around the block since then and is back on the yellow-and-blue sidelines with an eye toward glory. (photo credit: REUTERS)
ODED KATASH’S first time as the coach of Maccabi Tel Aviv – in 2007 – lasted less than a year. However, the club’s 47-year-old former superstar has been around the block since then and is back on the yellow-and-blue sidelines with an eye toward glory.
(photo credit: REUTERS)

Maccabi Tel Aviv appointed Oded Katash as their new head coach as the yellow-and-blue legend signed a two-year deal to lead the club.

Katash returns to the club where he grew up to become a superstar guard and after having been recently inducted into the Maccabi Hall of Fame just last season.

This will be the second time Katash will man the Maccabi sidelines after having spent six months with the club back in 2007. Most recently, Katash guided Greek powerhouse Panathinaikos to the domestic league championship and a Cup in 2021, guided the Israel National Team between 2017 and 2021 and coached Hapoel Jerusalem to a pair of Israel State Cups in both 2019 and 2020.

“It’s a good feeling and it’s exciting,” Katash said after inking the contract. “I’m very happy and I am looking forward to the challenge. At the end of the day, it is going to be very challenging and I can’t wait.

“Beyond the wonderful people who were here and in terms of David Blatt joining the club, I don’t think that you can’t ask for anything more of Maccabi and me as head coach. We spoke about the excitement and it’s one of the things I am most looking forward to along with learning and absorbing as much as possible.

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. (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. (credit: DANNY MARON)

“I believe that anyone who has experienced the incredible Thursday nights at Yad Eliyahu knows that it’s something unforgettable. The emotions will always be there and I have no doubt it will be exciting. But let’s face it, the team will have to make significant changes. There are a lot of exciting things that are on the way and there will be a lot of interesting situations. I can’t share them at this moment, but there is a lot to look forward to in the near future.”

Katash, 47, continued as he reminisced while also looking ahead.

“A lot of memories came rushing back to me and it was nostalgic. I am coming in now feeling much more ready and prepared. I can’t wait to begin working so that the fans can get what they deserve.”

“A lot of memories came rushing back to me and it was nostalgic. I am coming in now feeling much more ready and prepared. I can’t wait to begin working so that the fans can get what they deserve.”

Oded Katash

“Oded is a Maccabi family member,” club chairman Shimon Mizrahi commented. “At a very young age he reached many achievements with us as a player. Since becoming a coach he has acquired much experience along the way, including with Panathinaikos in the Euroleague and of course as the Israel National Team head coach. He has the Maccabi DNA. He plays an offensive and open court style and I think that’s what the team needed at this moment.”

Blatt, the club’s brand-new Professional Committee Chairman, also spoke about Katash joining the club.

“I am very pleased with the appointment of Oded as one who has strongly supported it along with sporting director Nikola Vujcic and the board. We are all happy to see him return to our organization and we want to wish him the best of luck.”

Katash was born on October 10, 1974 and joined Maccabi Tel Aviv’s youth department at 10 years old. At an early age it was determined that he had great potential and was promoted to the team’s sister club at the time, Maccabi South. Following a loan to Ramat Gan and Galil Elyon, Katash returned to Yad Eliyahu and became a superstar in his own right.

The guard stunned his opponents, controlled the pace and became one of the deadliest shooters in the continent, en route to three championships and two State Cups wearing the number 10 yellow-and-blue jersey. To many, he is still considered to be the most talented Israeli player of all-time.

In the summer of 1998, Katash reached an agreement with the New York Knicks and was supposed to be the first Israeli to play in the NBA, but a labor dispute that broke out between the players’ organization and the league led to a prolonged shutdown. Katash returned to Tel Aviv and later moved to Panathinaikos.

Maccabi fans will always remember with appreciation and pain the 2000 European Cup Final when Katash scored 14 points for Panathinaikos and subdued the yellow-and-blue to win the title which led to a bittersweet moment when he hoisted the trophy into the air.

Due to a knee injury, Katash had to announce his retirement and moved to the sidelines, where he coached Galil Elyon between 2004-07.

He then arrived back at Maccabi in the summer of but his tenure ended just six months later.

In 2008, he took over Hapoel Gilboa/Galil and guided it to the 2010 championship over Maccabi at Yad Eliyahu.

After his time in the Galilee, Katash coached Hapoel Jerusalem, Hapoel Eilat, Hapoel Tel Aviv and then returned to the capital city where he won a pair of State Cups.

In the summer of 2017 he coached the Israel Under-20 squad and won a silver medal in Crete, falling to the host nation Greece in the final.

In October 2017, Katash was appointed coach of the Israel National and in January 2021 he returned to Panathinaikos, this time as the head coach.

This past winter, Katash entered the Maccabi Tel Aviv Hall of Fame along with his backcourt mate Doron Sheffer, and they were warmly received by more than 10,000 spectators in the arena at a festive ceremony held before the game against Monaco, Maccabi’s 1,000th match in Europe.

Shortly afterwards, he was appointed the sports director of Hapoel Gilboa/Galil.

Katash has coached 403 regular season games in the Israel Premier League (248 wins, seventh in history) and 71 playoff games (42 wins, 4th in league history).

“We are happy to sign Oded Katash,” Vujcic said. “He was an excellent player and today he is an excellent coach who gained a lot of experience over the past number of years. We have a lot of work to do and we are looking forward to working together and working hard to achieve our goals.”