Final Four head coach: Dimitris Itoudis, CSKA Moscow

Apr 30, 2016 by Print
Final Four head coach: Dimitris Itoudis, CSKA Moscow

In his second year as a head coach in the Turkish Airlines Euroleague, Dimitris Itoudis is checking in for his second Final Four in that capacity, too. But Itoudis knows very well what it takes, and what it feels like, to ascend to Europe's peak. He helped Panathinaikos Athens win five Euroleague championships during his 13 seasons as an assistant coach there under the legendary Zeljko Obradovic. Since taking over at CSKA, Itoudis has led the team to an impressive 48-9 record in Euroleague action.

CSKA's tactician helped his team this season play some of the most offensive-minded basketball in recent history. CSKA led the league in nearly every major offensive statistical category with numbers that rank among the all-time best. And although he is the architect of that potent CSKA attack, in his earlier years Itoudis was known as a defensive mastermind, too.

At an early age Itoudis separated himself from other young coaches by earning a postgraduate degree in physical education from the University of Zagreb. While studying, he worked with some local clubs in the Croatian capital. Upon graduation and his return to his native Greece, Itoudis worked his way to taking the coaching reins at PAOK and Phillipos Thessaloniki, before joining Obradovic at Greek powerhouse Panathinaikos in 1999. As the coach's right-hand man for the next 13 years, Itoudis was part of Euroleague championship teams in 2000, 2002, 2007, 2009, and 2011. Itoudis, under Obradovic, also won 18 domestic titles in Greece before the two left Panathinaikos together in 2012.

A year later Itoudis took over at Banvit Bandirma and in his only season there led the club to a historic first-place finish in the Turkish League regular season. Now, in his second year with CSKA, he hopes to end the club's seven-year championship drought and in the process become the second Greek-born coach to lead a team to the Euroleague trophy.