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Alexander Gomelskiy Coach of the Year: Dusko Vujosevic
June 26, 2009
The Euroleague is proud to announce that Partizan Belgrade head coach Dusko Vujosevic is the Alexander Gomelskiy Coach of the Year Trophy winner for the 2008-09 season. The long-time Partizan coach worked another magical season from the bench in Belgrade, leading one of the youngest teams in the Euroleague to the Quarterfinal Playoffs for a second consecutive year. Along the way, Partizan and Vujosevic scored several marquee victories and even defeated both of the eventual 2009 finalists, Panathinaikos and CSKA Moscow. The buzz around Partizan became so great that the club had to move its last Euroleague home games to a bigger arena, where it set a new attendance record for an indoor European club basketball game. In recognition of the unique job he has done at Partizan, his fellow Euroleague head coaches have made Vujosevic the first person to win the Alexander Gomelskiy Coach of the Year Trophy without also taking the Euroleague title that season. Vujosevic will receive the award on July 8 in Barcelona at the 2009-10 Euroleague Draw.
Vujosevic, 50, just completed his 13th season as Partizan's head coach. He began his coaching career as a youth coach at Partizan while still a teenager and was only 26 when he took over the first team in 1985. Vujosevic led Partizan to the Yugoslav crown already in that first season and to the Euroleague Final Four in 1988. The following season he guided Partizan to the title of the Korac Cup. Vujosevic is well-known for his ability to maximize the potential of young talents. Early in his career he coached future legends Vlade Divac, Zarko Paspalj, Predrag Danilovic and Sasha Djordjevic, pointing them in the right direction for superstardom. More recently, he has advanced the careers of a new generation of stars, including current All-Euroleague center Nikola Pekovic, 2009 Euroleague Rising Star Award winner Novica Velickovic, former Euroleague top scorer Milos Vujanic, Uros Tripkovic, Kosta Perovic and Nenad Krstic.
After a strong 2007-08 season, Partizan practically started from scratch after the team's top three scorers left during the off seasons. However Vujosevic went right to work, filing the void mostly with homegrown talents and pushing the team to compete with the elite among European basketball. Eleven different players started Euroleague games this season for Partizan and 10 players averaged at least 10 minutes per game. After a bumpy start, Partizan punched its ticket to the Top 16 with a thrilling road win over defending champion CSKA in the regular season finale. Once in the Top 16, a four-game winning streak – including a home win over eventual champion Panathinaikos that set the all-time European club basketball attendance record – sent the Serbian champs into the Quarterfinal Playoffs. Although Partizan's run came to an end there at the hands of CSKA, Vujosevic and his players rebounded to finish the season in style, lifting both the Adriatic League and Serbian League crowns.
Altogether, Vujosevic has won nine domestic championships with Partizan – including an ongoing run of eight consecutively – in addition to winning four Yugoslavian or Serbian Cups and the Adriatic League title three times. In addition to Partizan, he has also coached Crvena Zvezda and Radnicki in Serbia, Granada in Spain and Pallacanestro Brescia, Olimpia Pistoia and Scavolini Pesaro in Italy. He has also served as the Serbia & Montenegro national team boss and is currently the head coach of the Montenegrin national team.
The Alexander Gomelskiy Coach of the Year Trophy pays tribute to the Russian coaching legend who was the winning coach of the first-ever Euroleague title. Gomelskiy, the father of basketball in the Soviet Union and Russia, led CSKA to its last Euroleague crown before the modern era in 1971. He passed away in 2005 at age 77 and the award has been handed out to the best coach of each Euroleague season since, as voted by his peers.
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