QR Club Profile: Cimberio Varese

Sep 03, 2013 by Euroleague.net Print
Ebi Ere - Cimberio Varese (photo legabasket.it)
Ebi Ere
2012-13 Results
Italian League: Semifinalist
Italian Cup: Finalist
Pallacanestro VasereAt long last, one of Europe's great basketball dynasties returns to the forefront this season, when Cimberio Varese enters the Turkish Airlines Euroleague Qualifying Rounds. Varese's attempt to reach the Euroleague again combines its rich past with a brilliant domestic performance last season. The club reached the Italian Cup final, finished first in the regular season and took perennial champion Montepaschi Siena the distance before bowing out in an intense semifinals series. Now the club looks to recapture its great performances of the past by getting back to the elite level. Historically, no team can touch the dynasty that Pallacanestro Varese had in the 1970s. Varese reached 10 consecutive Euroleague-level finals from 1970 to 1979, something that no other team – before or after – has been close to matching. Its five trophies in those 10 finals still has Varese tied in fourth place on the list of clubs with the most continental titles. Founded in 1945, became an Italian League runner-up already by 1949. Varese needed more than a decade before it lifted the Italian League trophy for the first time 1961, but soon did it again in 1964. Ignis Varese advanced to the 1965 European Cup semifinals, but lost a two-game series against CSKA Moscow amid controversy. Its legacy would start at the end of the sixties, when head coach Aza Nikolic guided the club to both the Italian League and Italian Cup titles with Aldo Ossola, Dino Meneghin and Manuel Raga as its main stars. It was just the beginning of a golden era, as Varese would win Euroleague titles in 1970, 1972 and 1973. It that period, from 1970 to 1974, Varese also won four Italian League titles, three Italian Cup crowns and made it to the other two European Cup finals, in 1971 and 1974. Varese had already started a huge sports rivalry against Real Madrid when both teams made it to the European Cup finals from 1974 to 1976. Varese would lift two more European trophies, in 1975 and 1976, and even though no more top continental titles came, Meneghin, Ossola and Bob Morse added to their legacy with three more trips to the title game between 1977 and 1979. Varese also won consecutive Italian League titles in 1977 and 1978. Varese went on to win the 1980 Saporta Cup by downing Cantu in the final. Varese has not won any other European titles since, although it was a finalist in the 1985 Korac Cup, losing against Milano. Its only title since 1980 has been the 1999 Italian League, when players like Veljko Mrsic, Daniel Santiago and Jack Galanda helped Varese gain another piece of silverware for its trophy case. Varese played three straight seasons in the ULEB Cup between 2002 and 2005 and got as far as the quarterfinals in two of those campaigns. Varese dropped out of the top Italian League in 2008, but rebounded the next season, worked its way up the Italian league ladder and is now on the verge of returning to its rightful place among the best in Europe.