Turkish Airlines Euroleague
May 21, 2013
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Valerio Bianchini (1974-2006)
Stella Azzurra Roma (ITA), Cantu (ITA), Virtus Roma (ITA), Scavolini Pesaro (ITA), Siena (ITA), Fortitudo Bologna (ITA), Varese (ITA), Olimpia Milano (ITA), Virtus Bologna (ITA), Jamhour Blue Stars (LEB)
As one the few coaches to win Euroleague titles with different teams from the same country, Valerio Bianchini is a living legend in Italian basketball. Bianchini started his coaching career with Stella Azzurra Roma before joining Cantu in the late 1970s. He helped Cantu to the 1981 Saporta Cup and the 1982 Euroleague title before joining Virtus Roma. Bianchini remained successful, winning the 1983 Italian league crown and then lifted the 1984 Euroleague trophy. Another Italian league title followed with Scavolini in 1988 as well as the 1992 Korac Cup trophy with Roma and the 1998 Italian Cup with Fortitudo.
Pedro Ferrandiz (1957-75)
Hesperia Madrid (ESP), Real Madrid (ESP), Spanish NT
Smart and intelligent, Pedro Ferrandiz was a basketball genius, loved by its own fans and hated everywhere else. Ferrandiz helped Real Madrid become what it is now, winning 12 Spanish league championships, 11 Spanish Cups and four Euroleague titles in his 13-year coaching career. Ferrandiz also forced a rule change when he ordered Lorenzo Alocen to score in his own basket so that an injury and foul-plagued Real Madrid would avoid overtime in the two-way 1962 Euroleague eighth-finals. Ferrandiz now owns a successful basketball foundation and research center in Alcobendas, Madrid.
Sandro Gamba (1973-91)
Varese (ITA), Torino (ITA), Virtus Bologna (ITA), Italian NT
Sandro Gamba learned from one of the greatest and by the time he became a head coach, he was more than ready to take over. Gamba, a 10-time Italian league winner and his national team's captain as a player, studied under Aza Nikolic and Cesare Rubini and helped Varese to two Euroleague titles in 1975 and 1976. Gamba also coached Torino and Virtus Bologna but added to his own legend by taking the Italian national team to its glory days, winning the EuroBasket 1983 and collecting the silver medal at the 1980 Olympics in Moscow.
Aito Garcia Reneses(1974-Present)
Circulo Catolico (ESP), Joventut (ESP), Barcelona (ESP)
Always a modern coach followed all around the continent, Aito Garcia Reneses introduced deep rotations to Spanish basketball while also bringing up dozens of young talents from Pau Gasol to Ricky Rubio. Aito started his coaching career at Circulo Catolico Badalona, reaching the Korac Cup semi-finals in 1979. He coached Joventut to the 1985 Spanish league finals before joining Barcelona, where he won nine Spanish league championships, four Spanish King's Cups, two Saporta Cup crowns and two Korac Cup titles in his 15 seasons with the club. Aito is in his fifth season with Joventut and remains a reference in European basketball coaching.
Pini Gershon (1992-Present)
Maccabi Tel Aviv (ISR), Maccabi Rishon Le Zion (ISR), Hapoel Jerusalem (ISR), Hapoel Tel Aviv (ISR)
Charismatic, smart and ambitious, Pini Gershon not only is one of the best European coaches of his time - but he is also a one-of-a-kind character who is always fun to have around. Gershon took Maccabi to a second golden era, winning the SuproLeague title in 2001 and then back-to-back Euroleague trophies in 2004 and 2005. Gershon has also won six Israeli league crowns and six Israeli Cup titles in as many years with Maccabi. Perhaps most remarkably, Gershon also won the Israeli championship with Galil Elyon, the only club other than Maccabi to win since 1967.
Aleksandar Gomelsky (1954-91)
ASK Riga (LAT), CSKA Moscow (RUS), Tenerife (ESP), Limoges (FRA), Soviet Union NT
The winning coach of the first-ever Euroleague title, Aleksandar Gomelsky was the father of basketball in the Soviet Union and Russia. Gomelsky won three consecutive Euroleague titles with ASK Riga in 1958, 1959 and 1960 and added a fourth crown with CSKA in 1971. He is also responsible for several others for the Red Army even though he remained in the background for some years. Gomelsky collected 14 Soviet Union league titles with ASK and CSKA, but he also had an extraordinary career with the Soviet Union national team. He led the Soviets to gold medals at seven EuroBaskets, the 1982 World Championship and the 1988 Olympics. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that the Euroleague's Coach of the Year award is linked to Gomelsky's name.
Yannis Ioannidis (1978-2004)
Aris (GRE), Olympiacos (GRE), Larissa (GRE), AEK (GRE), Greek NT
One of the greatest Greek coaches of all time, Ioannis Ioannidis led Greek club basketball back to the top European scene. He, along with Nikos Galis and Panagiotis Yannakis, helped Aris to win seven consecutive league titles and as many as 81 consecutive domestic games between 1985 and 1988. He also helped the team to make it to three consecutive titles from 1988 to 1990. Ioannidis soon joined Olympiacos winning four consecutive Greek League titles from 1993 to 1996. He also reached three Euroleague finals with Olympiacos in 1994 and 1995 and with AEK in 1998, but never lifted the Euroleague trophy, the one missing jewel in his incredible roll of honours.
Dusan Ivkovic (1978-Present)
Radnicki (SRB), Partizan (SRB), Aris (GRE), Sibenka (CRO), Vojvodina (SRB), PAOK (GRE), Panionios (GRE), Olympiacos (GRE), AEK (GRE), CSKA Moscow (RUS), Dynamo Moscow (RUS), Yugoslavian NT
As the only coach to win all four major European titles, Dusan Ivkovic is the dean of European coaches. Ivkovic already started to shine in European competitions by leading Partizan to both the Yugoslavian League and the Korac Cup titles in 1979. Ivkovic remained mainly in Serbia until he joined PAOK in the 1990s, winning the 1992 Greek League and the 1994 Korac Cup crowns. Ivkovic then went on to win the 1997 Euroleague championship with Olympiacos, the 2000 Saporta Cup with AEK and the 2006 ULEB Cup with Dynamo Moscow. Three Russian league crowns with CSKA, three EuroBaskets and the 1990 World Championship with Yugoslavia are other highlights of an inexhaustably successful career on the bench.
Ralph Klein (1976-96)
Maccabi Tel Aviv IISR), West Germany NT
Widely regarded as the coach who put Israeli basketball on the European basketball map, Ralph Klein led Maccabi in several spells over eight seasons between 1976 and 1996. Klein, also a Maccabi player for more than a decade, led Maccabi to its most important success, winning the 1977 Euroleague title, the first-ever in club history. He also reached the 1982 and 1988 final with the Israeli powerhouse. Klein shocked the basketball world again by leading the Israeli national team to a silver medal at EuroBasket 1979. He also won eight Israeli league titles in as many seasons with the club. Klein passed away on August 6, 2008.
Bozidar Maljkovic (1979-Present)
Radnicki Beograd (SRB), Split (CRO), Barcelona (ESP), Limoges (FRA), Panathinaikos (GRE), Paris (FRA), Unicaja (ESP), Real Madrid (ESP), Tau Ceramica (ESP)
The first master of the Final Four format, Bozidar Maljkovic found ways to win Euroleague titles when nobody expected his teams to do so. Maljkovic led Split's golden years, lifting back-to-back Euroleague trophies in 1989 and 1990 before joining Barcelona. When he arrived in Limoges, he made the most out of his roster to win the 1993 Euroleague title in arguably the biggest surprise ever in the competition. Maljkovic also won a fourth Euroleague title with Panathinaikos in 1996 and the 2001 Korac Cup with Unicaja. He has also lifted domestic league and cup titles with Split, Barcelona, Limoges, Panathinaikos and Real Madrid.
Ettore Messina (1989-Present)
Virtus Bologna (ITA), Benetton Treviso (ITA), Italian NT, CSKA Moscow (RUS)
A modern coach who always innovates and reinvents himself, Ettore Messina is also one of the winningest bosses in Euroleague history. Messina became Virtus Bologna's head coach at the end of the 1990s and took the team to its glory days, winning two Euroleague titles in 1998 and 2001, the 1990 Saporta Cup, three Italian league championships and four Italian Cup trophies. Messina then moved to Benetton Treviso and won an Italian league crown, two Italian Cups and reached the 2003 Euroleague final in just three years. In just two seasons since with CSKA, Messina twice won the Russian league and Cup double and led the club to the 2006 Euroleague trophy, its first in 35 years.
Aleksandar Nikolic (1954-84)
Partizan (SRB), OKK Beograd (SRB), Padova (ITA), Red Star (SRB), Varese (ITA), Fortitudo Bologna (ITA), Borac Cacak (SRB), Virtus Bologna (ITA), Scavolini Pesaro (ITA), Yugoslavian NT
The father of Serbian basketball was none other than Aleksandar "Aza" Nikolic, whose legacy still lives on. Nikolic helped Yugoslavian basketball go from relatively unknown status to a dominant force. He coached some of the best clubs in the country, including Partizan, OKK Belgrade and Red Star as well as Padova in Italy. But Nikolic he found his biggest glory in Varese, leading them to three Euroleague crowns (1970-73) in four consecutive finals, three Italian league crowns and three Italian Cups. With his national team, Nikolic captured gold medals at EuroBasket 1977 and the 1978 World Championship. Nikolic passed away in 2000, but not until he had spread and taught basketball all around the continent.
Mirko Novosel (1967-93)
Cibona (CRO), Napoli (ITA), Yugoslavian NT, Croatian NT
A coach ahead of his time, Mirko Novosel is a legend in Croatian basketball. After a 12-year playing career, he began coaching in 1966 with Lokomotiva Zagreb which later became Cibona, and helped the team to the first-ever Korac Cup in 1972. Novosel would add the 1982 Saporta Cup title and the 1985 Euroleague trophy, both with Cibona. He also collected three Yugoslavian league titles and seven Yugoslavian Cups. Novosel coached the Yugoslavian national team throughout its first golden age, winning back-to-back EuroBasket golds in 1973 and 1975, a silver medal at the 1974 World Championship as well as two Olympic medals in 1976 and 1984.
Zeljko Obradovic (1991-Present)
Partizan (SRB), Joventut (ESP), Real Madrid (ESP), Benetton Treviso (ITA), Panathinaikos (GRE), Yugoslavian NT, Serbia and Montenegro NT
The winningest coach in Euroleague history is none other than Zeljko Obradovic. A World champion as a player in 1990, Obradovic led Partizan to its only Euroleague title in 1992, downing Joventut in the final. He compensated Joventut's fans by leading them to the 1994 Euroleague title, the only crown in club history. Obradovic then joined Real Madrid and won his third Euroleague title in 1995. He also won Saporta Cup titles with Madrid in 1997 and Benetton in 1999 before joining Panathinaikos. In his eight seasons with the Greens, Obradovic has won seven Greek league crowns, three Greek Cups and three Euroleague titles in 2000, 2002 and 2007. Obradovic also captured gold at EuroBasket 1997 and the 1998 World Championship with Yugoslavia.
Zeljko Pavlicevic (1985-Present)
Cibona (CRO), OAR Ferrol (ESP), Baskonia (ESP), Split (CRO), Panathinaikos (GRE), Japanese NT, Zagreb (CRO)
Zeljko Pavlicevic started as Mirko Novosel's assistant coach but delivered immediately after taking over the Cibona bench. Pavlicevic helped Cibona to the Yugoslavian Cup and a second consecutive Euroleague title in 1986, with Novosel as a general manager in the background. Pavlicevic proved all the non-believers wrong, however, winning a second Euroleague title with Split in 1991, adding Yugoslavian league and Cup titles that season as well. Pavlicevic then won the 1993 Greek Cup title with Panathinaikos and coached the Japanese national team.
Svetislav Pesic (1982-Present)
Bosna Sarajevo (BIH), Alba Berlin (GER), German NT, Koeln (GER), Yugoslavian NT, Barcelona (ESP), Lottomatica Roma (ITA), Girona (ESP), Dynamo Moscow (RUS)
A natural-born winner who always gets the most out of his team, Svetislav Pesic has an impressive roll of honours. A Euroleague champion as a player with Bosna Sarajevo in 1979, Pesic also coached that team before joining Alba Berlin in 1993, the year in which he led the German national team to its only EuroBasket title. Pesic guided Alba to the 1995 Korac Cup as well as four consecutive German league titles from 1997 to 2000. Not happy with that, Pesic brought Barcelona its only Euroleague title in 2003 as well as two straight Spanish league trophies. He also helped Yugoslavia to gold at EuroBasket 2001 and the 2002 World Championship.
Dan Peterson (1963-87)
University of Delaware (USA), Virtus Bologna (ITA), Olimpia Milano (ITA), Chilean NT
A basketball professor who has spread the sport all around Italy, Dan Peterson is one of the most unique characters in European basketball. Peterson arrived in Italy to coach Virtus Bologna in 1973, winning the 1974 Italian Cup and the 1976 Italian league crown before joining Milano. Peterson guided Milano to the 1987 Euroleague title, the 1985 Korac Cup trophy, four Italian league crowns and two Italian Cups. He also became a TV star, broadcasting NBA games and wrestling while writing for different basketball magazines. Even after retiring in 1987, Peterson remains one of the most influential people in Italian and European basketball.
Cesare Rubini (1947-74)
Olimpia Milano (ITA)
A European championship winner in basketball and water polo, Cesare Rubini opted to become a basketball player and coach for Olimpia Milano at age 25 but still carried on winning with the Italian water polo team. He not only played and coached Milano to five consecutive Italian league titles from 1950 to 1954, but he won the 1948 and 1952 Olympic gold medals in water polo, as well as six Italian league trophies. In 1956 Rubini became a full-time basketball coach, winning 10 more Italian league championships, back-to-back Saporta Cups in 1971 and 1972 and above all, the 1966 Euroleague title, the first-ever European trophy in Italian basketball history.
Lolo Sainz (1972-2000)
Vallehermoso Madrid (ESP), Real Madrid (ESP), Joventut (ESP), Spanish NT
The only man to win the Euroleague multiple times as a player and coach is Lolo Sainz, who matched a great playing career when he became a coach. Sainz joined Real Madrid in 1961, winning seven Spanish league crowns and four Euroleague titles as a player from 1961 to 1968. He would rejoin Madrid as a coach in 1976 and capture two Euroleague titles, two Saporta Cups, a Korac Cup and winning eight Spanish leagues crowns before joining Joventut in the summer of 1990. In his three seasons with Joventut, Sainz led the team to back-to-back Spanish league titles in 1991 and 1992, the year in which the club reached the Euroleague final. Always cordial and gentlemanly, Sainz also represented Real Madrid like few others off the court.
Ranko Zeravica (1958-2003)
Partizan (SRB), Barcelona (ESP), Pula (CRO), Red Star (SRB), Zaragoza (ESP), Desio (ITA), Napoli (ITA), Conservas Daroca (ESP), Split (CRO), Caserta (ITA), Yugoslavian NT
Another Yugoslavian basketball coaching legend, Ranko Zeravica is mostly remembered for winning the 1980 Olympic gold medal with Yugoslavia, joining forces with Mirko Novosel. Zeravica also captured the 1970 World Championship and won other medals at EuroBaskets, World Championships and Olympic Games. But Zeravica also had an important club coaching career, working for Partizan, Barcelona, Red Star, Zaragoza and Caserta among many others. Zeravica led Partizan to the 1978 Korac Cup, the first European title in club history, and the 1996 Yugoslavian league crown.
THE ALL-TIME COACH NOMINEES
Aito Garcia Reneses