Vince Macaulay’s reign as London Lions head coach is over.

Two years after stepping down as the owner of the BBL outfit, Macaulay has been relieved of his playcalling duties with James Vear confirmed in interim charge until the end of the season.

Having reached the semi-finals of the BBL Cup, Lions are presently eighth in the British Basketball League – a record massively skewed by playing just five games – and are 0-3 and facing a likely exit in the second round of the FIBA Europe Cup.

The 60-year-old Liverpudlian, one of UK hoops’ most prominent characters, has been involved with the franchise since 1998 when it was based in Watford, taking it to Milton Keynes before seeding its switch to London and presiding over a golden era that included a first BBL Championship in 2019, as well as triumphs in the Cup and Trophy.

Selling out a majority stake to 777 Partners, he remained as head coach but what is thought to be his fourth spell in charge of the sidelines has been brought to a close with Vear, who helms Lions B team at Barking Abbey, stepping up.

“All good things come to an end,” Macaulay said.

“I am happy to leave the club in the position it is in, off the floor in safe hands with our current ownership and on the floor to be undefeated at home in European competition and in a great position to win the three remaining domestic trophies.

“The player pathway we have in place will surely be a hotbed for the growth of the next British stars. I wish everyone at the club nothing but the best in the future –  for me, I will take time off for now. But for sure, the ball will keep on bouncing.”

Speaking to MVP at the outset of the campaign, new GM Brett Burman had reaffirmed his backing for the former BBL chair, saying: “Vince is a great coach. He’s such a vital piece in British basketball, in the London Lions, in everything to where we’ve gotten to this point.”

A team statement said: “Vince’s role and contribution to the London Lions has proven to be nothing short of legendary. A life-long, celebrated champion of British basketball and the community that supports it, boasting a raft of career milestones that have redefined the history of the sport in the UK, and will continue to impact its evolution for decades to come.

“From serving as the first British (based) coach since Nick Nurse in 2002 to lead a win in a European competition, to being the only British coach to advance the team in a European tournament to its current position; Vince’s iconoclastic career has reformed how UK basketball is played and perceived by those on and off the court, both home and away.”

Starting with Sunday’s home date with Newcastle Eagles, Vear will now be tasked with guiding a challenge for domestic honours to match the significant salary spend on their roster.

But there will be a sense of sadness if this is to be Macaulay’s final spell front and centre at courtside as one of the sport’s most potent advocates over four decades in a variety of roles and points where financial turbulence threatened its survival.

From taking Lions into a shopping mall when they were left homeless, and then into a warehouse on an industrial estate in Milton Keynes in a stroke of wild initiative, and then seizing upon the legacy opportunities of London 2012 with a relocation into the Copper Box, to finding deep-pocketed buyers to launch his team onto the international stage, Macaulay was never far from a fresh idea.

Some felt it inevitable in the new investor-driven world in the capital that his days might be numbered. So it has proved.

A book filled to the brim, an era even, concludes. It will take some getting used to, indeed.



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