New adventure for Philip Mestdagh: ex-national coach must guide Polish top Arka Gdynia to new successes

Philip Mestdagh at work at Kortrijk Spurs. — © VDB

Ex-national coach of the Belgian Cats Philip Mestdagh will be the new coach of the Polish topper Arka Gdynia. The 60-year-old West Fleming leaves Kortrijk Spurs because the club pulls the plug on professional women’s basketball.

Patrick Ceulemans

Philip Mestdagh was coach of Ypres from 2003 to 2014. With the West Flemish women’s club, including Emma Meesseman and daughter Hanne Mestdagh, he became champion and conquered the Belgian Cup. In Belgium he also worked for Castors Braine and Namur Capitale. He won the Belgian Cup in 2018 with the club from Namur. The three-time Belgian Coach of the Year achieved the most international successes with the Belgian Cats. From 2016 to 2021, the Belgian Cats won two bronze medals at a European Championship (2017, 2021), a fourth place at the World Cup in 2018 and the quarterfinals at the 2021 Olympic Games in Tokyo.

Last summer he joined Kortrijk Spurs’ ambitious project. He signed there for three years and with a professional team the Spurs wanted to make a connection with the Belgian top and therefore with Kangoeroes Mechelen and Castors Braine. After barely one season, the board pulled the plug on the professional project, so that Philip Mestdagh had to look for a new challenge. He found it in Poland and at Arka Gdynia. A top club with 13 titles and 10 Polish Cups on its palmares. The last title and Cup dates from 2021. In the Euroleague Women they came second in 2002 and 2004.

For Philip Mestdagh it is his second foreign challenge. In 2021 he briefly coached the French St.-Amands-les-Eaux. He himself quit the French club because he was suffering from a burnout. Arka Gdynia was eliminated in the quarter-finals of the Polish play-offs by a sweep (3-0) by Lublin.

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