A look at what Zeljko Obradovic has already accomplished in a quarter-century on the sidelines leaves no room for the slighest doubt about his status as the most successful head coach in Euroleague history. And he's not done yet.
The numbers alone make his case. Obradovic has won eight Euroleague titles, four more than any other head coach. He has lifted the Euroleague trophy with four different clubs, another record. He has won two Saporta Cups, 13 domestic league titles and nine national cups . And he has multiple medals as both a player and coach with the Yugoslav national team.
To sum up Obradovic's legendary status based on results would be an oversimplification of his greatness, however. Over the years, Obradovic has been able to get the most out of his teams by using a wide range of different playing strategies. Some of his title teams excelled on offense, while others shined on defense. Needless to say, all of his teams emphasize both.
Obradovic's animated sideline presence keep players focused and fans engaged. If great players are sometimes described as coaches on the court, he might be considered almost like a player on the sidelines. He has been able to help everyone from stars past their primes to young talents thrive in his systems. This season, Obradovic was tested again when he lost Jan Vesely, who by the numbers was his most-productive player, to injury late in the Top 16. Not only didn't Fenerbahce miss a beat, but it sent outgoing champion Real Madrid home in a playoff sweep.
One of the greatest tests of a coach's stature is how much players want to be guided by him, even in diminished roles. In Obradovic's case, there are always players eager to sign for his teams, because he has a reputation of helping young players get better, making good players great and winning titles. Now in his third season with Fenerbahce, Obradovic has a squad full of such ambitious players coming to the Final Four again with one goal in mind – to make history together.