The London Lions women’s team have announced former Greek international Stella (Styliani) Kaltsidou as their new Head Coach as they look to emulate their domestic dominance with FIBA EuroLeague qualification next year. Kaltsidou brings a wealth of experience with her after a 27-year playing career where she played for Europe’s elite teams and a coaching career which has seen her become the assistant coach of Olympiacos and the Slovenian women’s national team. The new Head Coach will take charge of her first game on the 19th of February as the Lions take on the Caledonia Gladiators at the Copper Box Arena.
Kaltsidou joins a Lions team who are considered as one of the most successful teams in women’s sport, having achieved an unprecedented feat of 50 consecutive wins in the Women’s British Basketball League (WBBL) earlier this season and going unbeaten domestically for over 650 days. This is the latest in a string of accomplishments for the team after they achieved invincibility in the WBBL Championship last season – winning all 34 domestic games by an average margin of 40 points. They also completed a domestic clean sweep by winning the WBBL Cup, Trophy, Championship and Play-Off titles.
The Lions consider Kaltsidou’s appointment – and the wealth of experience she brings as both a player and coach at an elite level – to be integral in reaching the FIBA EuroLeague and developing the sport in the UK. The new coach’s style has been influenced by her experience in playing in France, Greece, Turkey and Poland and these new ideas and ideologies will now be shared with the rest of the Lions’ existing coaching staff – all of whom hail from the UK – including David Lavinier, Gary Maitland, Jacob Lloyd and Lauren Milligan.
The Lions’ impressive roster serves as a clear reflection of the rapid growth of the women’s basketball in the UK after the team completed a number of standout signings for this season including Mikiah ‘Kiki’ Herbert-Harrigan, Katsiaryna Snytsina and Taylor Murray.
New Head Coach of the London Lions women’s team, Stella (Styliani) Kaltsidou, comments:
“I’m really happy to become a member of London Lions family! I would like to thank the organisation for trusting me and giving me the opportunity to work for British basketball, which grows stronger every year. The club has already proven its dynamic in Europe this season, so the target is to continue the excellent job of coach Clark and work hard every day to improve and get ready to compete on the highest level.
“The goal is to build a team based on the best British players which, with patience and hard work, will succeed to become a stable power in Europe. I believe that this way this project can have a continuity over the years and become a pole of attraction for the next generations of British basketball. I’m really looking forward to start working with all the team on the court!”
General Manager of the London Lions women’s team, Vanja Cernivec, comments:
“We’re delighted to announce the signing of Stella as our new women’s team Head Coach. We have our sights set entering qualifiers for the FIBA EuroLeague next year, and Stella has invaluable experience both coaching and playing at that level. She has an incredible basketball mind, doesn’t leave anything to chance or luck and will bring so much energy and motivation to the team.
“When you talk to players Stella has played with or coached, you hear just how highly regarded she is by everyone and that speaks volumes. We are happy she has agreed to take on this challenge with us and we look forward to her bringing her wealth of experience and professionalism to the job “