Fotis Katsikaris was officially named the new head coach of the Russian Men’s National Team on Monday. It was also stated that an agreement has been worked out that will allow Katsikaris to continue with his position as the head coach of Spainish club Bilbao Basket.
His contract with the Russian Basketball Federation will run through the 2016 Olympics and allows him to coach the squad in the off-season, while not required to be with Bilbao. His arrangement with Bilbao will basically mean that he’ll let his current season contract expire at the end of that season, coach the Russian squad and then sign a new one-year deal with Bilbao after he’s done with the Russians.
Katsikaris, referring to the Spain ACB rule that doesn’t allow coaches to hold positions with two teams, has said:
“I won’t break any rules, Each year on June 30, I’ll break up my contract with Bilbao before I start working in Russia, then I can return to Spain and re-sign my club deal again.”
The announcement ends months of speculation as to the replacement for David Blatt, who stepped down from the top Russian position after guiding the squad to a Bronze medal at the 2012 London Olympics. Katsikaris was immediately rumored to be the front-runner for the position, but the Spain ACB rules figured to be a sticking point in negotiations as he’s repeatedly said he planned on staying with Bilbao.