Maccabi Tel Aviv has signed David Blatt as chairman of the professional committee and external consultant to the club. The legendary coach, who led the yellow-and-blue to their sixth European Championship and was an important factor in the three continental titles that preceded it, will work in collaboration with the professional team and will contribute his rich experience and expertise.
In addition to Blatt, the professional committee will include the following: the head coach, the sports director and the scouting team. The committee will provide a professional support to the Maccabi head coach, who will continue to be the decisive professional authority and will also report, give its opinion and recommend to the owners in a number of professional issues.
“I am very happy to return to Maccabi Tel Aviv,” David Blatt told the club’s official website. “I am happy to join Nikola Vujcic, Avi Even and the rest of the professional team and look forward to start working, even though we have already started. We will define and bring in players and people who will help Maccabi return to where it needs to be.”
“I think we took a very big step forward in bringing David Blatt back to the club as chairman of the professional committee.” explained club chairman Shimon Mizrahi. “David knows Maccabi Tel Aviv for a very long time and he won the European championship in Milan in 2014 as well as being a coach in the NBA. He won many titles, was the coach of the Russian national team and had many accomplishments with them as well. He knows players, he knows the structure of Euroleague teams because he has also coached these teams. I think his contribution will be great. He will work together with the entire professional team and lead us to many successes. He is coming back home.”
Blatt captured five Israeli League championships, five Israel State Cups, an Adriatic League title and was also crowned the coach of the year four times in the domestic league. The 63-year old also picked up four championships and four Cups as Pini Gershon’s assistant at Maccabi and won the 2007 European Championship, finished third in the 2011 edition along with capturing an Olympic bronze medal with the Russian national team.
In addition, Blatt became the first Israeli to coach in the NBA when he took over the reins of the Cleveland Cavaliers and guided them to the 2015 NBA Finals where his team fell to the Golden State Warriors in 6 games.
In 2018, Blatt won the EuroCup with Turkish club Darussafaka together with guard Scottie Wilbekin and center Ante Zizic and also won the Eurochallenge in 2005 with Dynamo St. Petersburg as well as a championship and a cup in Italy with Bennett Treviso.
Blatt also coached Efes Pilsen, Dynamo Moscow, Aris Thessaloniki and Olympiacos. In December 2019 he announced his retirement from coaching and was then appointed as professional advisor to the New York Knicks.
Born in a suburb of Boston on May 22, 1959, David Blatt attended Princeton College where he earned a degree in English literature and also played on the university basketball team. In 1981 he arrived in Israel for the Maccabiah Games with the United States basketball team and won the Gold medal.
Following the Games, Blatt immigrated to Israel and continued his playing career with Maccabi Haifa, Hapoel Jerusalem, Elitzur Netanya, Hapoel Galil Elyon, Ironi Nahariya and Maccabi Hadera. In 1993 he retired due to an injury and began his full-time coaching career.