The Dallas Mavericks faced turmoil last summer after The Athletic dropped (subscription required) a report about the team’s front office dysfunction. General manager Donnie Nelson, head coach Rick Carlisle, and executive Haralabos “Bob” Voulgaris were at the center of the scandal that saw all three depart the organization.
Owner Mark Cuban brought Dirk Nowitzki back on as special advisor as the duo selected Nico Harrison to be the team’s lead executive and hired Jason Kidd as head coach. Harrison and Kidd helped the Mavericks win their first playoff series since 2011 and reach the conference finals in their first season.
Voulgaris had other NBA offers, but he instead bought CD Castellon, a third-division Spanish soccer team. The 47-year-old made millions betting on sports using analytical models. Those models paved the way for the Mavericks to hire him as Director of Qualitative Research and Development, and now, Voulgaris plans to use them to help CD Castellon.
Former Dallas Mavericks exec Haralabos Voulgaris taking new challenge head-on
Voulgaris was the feature of a must-read ESPN piece (subscription required) that focused on how he believes he can help his new team go from the third division to La Liga to take on soccer powers Real Madrid and Barcelona. Analytics play a massive role in his plan, but Voulgaris is spending his money on facility upgrades too.
Will his plan work? Voulgaris believes he can build a model that helps his team consistently win, and it will be a fascinating experiment to watch. Analytics have changed American sports. Will they do the same in global soccer? Voulgaris thinks he can be on the cutting edge of doing just that.
Bob Voulgaris is not backing down from his new challenge with CD Castellon, and the Dallas Mavericks appear to be in a better place to build around Luka Doncic with Nico Harrison and Jason Kidd helping Mark Cuban lead the way. Stay tuned because the best appears yet to come for both teams.