Newcastle Eagles’ head coach Ian MacLeod is stepping down.

The Geordie playcaller, who succeeded Fabulous Flournoy three years ago and won three trophies in his first two years at the helm, will move into an unspecified new role at the club at the close of this season.

It comes near the end of a disastrous campaign on Tyneside with Eagles set to miss the BBL Playoffs following three months in which players and staff have looked increasingly disconnected.

Great Britain assistant coach Marc Steutel is the early favourite to take over.

“I’d like to thank Ian for everything he’s done to develop the club on and off the court during the last three seasons,” said Newcastle’s managing director, Paul Blake.

“It’s important that Ian remains part of the Eagles family and I’d like to wish him all the best ahead of starting his new position in the summer.”

The former Eagles community coach and head of the Academy is credited with playing a major role in the development of Princeton’s 2022 Ivy League Player of the Year Tosan Evbuomwan, during their time with the EABL team.

“I’ve had an incredibly rewarding and memorable three seasons in charge and I am extremely proud of what I, the team and support staff achieved throughout challenging times”, said MacLeod.

“This season has been extremely difficult and we are disappointed not to be competing at the right end of the table.

“The time is now right to look to the next project, where I am still as committed as ever to growing and improving basketball in the North East and within the club and foundation.”

MacLeod steered Newcastle through one of the most challenging periods in memory with the Covid affected seasons and more recently with illness and injury to key players, coupled with the loss of the club’s main sponsor, which combined to hamper progress on and off the court.

But Blake added: “We have some very exciting plans in place for next season and we’re hoping to announce some of them soon.

“I would like to thank all our supporters for being behind us through what has been the toughest season since I took over the club in 1999.

“There have been a multitude of issues on and off court, but we can look forward to the future and a return to winning ways.”

MacLeod leads Newcastle into action away at basement club Surrey on Sunday and Bristol on Monday.

“It is important now that we give all of our efforts to finish the BBL season as strongly as possible,” MacLeod added.

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