Maccabi FOX Tel Aviv announced on Sunday morning that it had fired head coach Neven Spahija and replaced him with Ioannis Sfairopoulos. Assistant coach Guy Goodes was also dismissed from his duties. Sfairopoulos, 51, signed a contract through the end of the 2019-20 season. He is expected to make his debut on the Maccabi bench on Tuesday at Anadolu Efes Istanbul. Sfairopoulos spent the previous four seasons as head coach of Olympiacos Piraeus, which he led to the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague Championship Game in both 2015 and 2017. He also won a pair of Greek League titles with the Reds.
"I’m very proud to be a part of such a big club with a glorious tradition like Maccabi Tel Aviv," Sfairopoulos told Maccabi.co.il. "I want to thank the team owners, the management and anyone who made this happen and had trust in me to be the head coach of Maccabi. To the fans I want to say that I will do everything in my power for us to succeed. Now it's the time to work hard with all the players to change the situation of the team. I believe in the team and in this roster and have I complete faith in them. We will fight together, The players and I have to be ready to give 100%, now is not the time for additional words but for work and actions."
Sfairopoulos started coaching as a teenager with Apollon Kalamarias in his hometown of Thessaloniki in 1986. After more than a decade there, Sfairopoulos spent eight seasons with PAOK Thessaloniki, where he became a head coach for the first time in 2000 and immediately reached the Greek League playoffs. Sfairopoulos first joined Olympiacos as an assistant from 2005 until 2008. After that, he spent three years as head coach of Kolossos Rhodes and two with Panionios Athens, making the Greek League postseason in all five times. Those jobs were separated by one season as an assistant coach with CSKA Moscow. He inherits an injury-plagued Maccabi squad that has lost four in a row and is tied for last place in the EuroLeague with a 1-6 record.
Spahija, 56, finishes his second term with Maccabi having led the team to a 27-33 record in parts of three seasons. He also won a pair of Israeli League titles with Maccabi.