Zalgiris tabs Trifunovic for bench

Oct 31, 2011 by Print
Aleksandar Trifunovic joins ZalgirisA proven Turkish Airlines Euroleague winner, Aleksandar Trifunovic, is the choice of Zalgiris Kaunas to try to turn things around after two losses to start the regular season. Club and coach signed a deal until the end of the current season. Zalgiris becomes the third Euroleague team coached by Trifunovic, 44, who spent two years with Zalgiris rival Lietuvos Rytas, making the Top 16 both times. He also coached Panellinios of Greece in that club's only Euroleague season, 2008-09. Trifunovic replaces Ilias Zouros, who was released by Zalgiris after a season-opening loss to CSKA Moscow. Last season, Trifunovic and Lietuvos Rytas finished with a 3-3 record in the Top 16, one victory from making the playoffs. They fell a victory short of the playoffs, too, in 2007-08, the first Euroleague season ever for both coach and club. Trifunovic and L. Rytas finished with a 13-7 record that year, with six losses of 7 points or fewer. Trifunovic began his head coacching career in his native Serbia with Crvena Zvezda, coaching two separate seasons, 2002-03 and 2004-05. He arrived at Lietuvos Ryas midway through the 2006-07 season and guided the team to the ULEB Cup title game, which it lost to Real Madrid. He and L. Rytas also won the Baltic League title that year. In 2009-10, he returned to Crvena Zvezda, making the Eurocup's Last 16 before being eliminated on points. In his return to Lietuvos Rytas last season, Trifunovic repeated the club's Top 16 trip and became the last team to beat eventual champion Panathinaikos in Athens before bowing out of the competition. Altogether, Trifunovic boasts a 23-23 record in three Euroleague seasons, including a 5-7 mark in the Top 16.