One of the most experienced Turkish Airlines Euroleague coaches returns to the competition with the announcement that Panathinaikos inked Dusko Ivanovic to a two-year deal on Tuesday.
Ivanovic, 56, last walked the sidelines of the Euroleague with Laboral Kutxa Vitoria of Spain, with whom he parted ways in November 2012. Ivanovic has spent most of his Euroleague career with the same club after arriving to Vitoria in 2000. In that first season, he led Tau Ceramica - as the team was called then - to its biggest success until then, appearing in the 2001 Euroleague playoff finals, where it took eventual champion Kinder Bologna to the fifth and final game. Four years later, in 2005, Ivanovic led Tau to its first Final Four and another single-game shot at the continental title after upsetting CSKA, a team that had what is still the best winning percentage in the Euroleague this century and was playing at home in Moscow, in the semifinal. Tau lost to defending champ Maccabi Tel Aviv in that year's final, while Ivanovic left Vitoria for two-and-a-half seasons to coach FC Barcelona Regal. He returned to Vitoria and the team now called Caja Laboral in 2008 and reached the Euroleague playoffs three consecutive seasons, but without managing to make the last step to the Final Four. As a head coach in Switzerland, with Fribourg, in France, with Limoges CSP, and in Spain with Baskonia and Barcelona, Ivanovic has won a combined six national titles. He also lifted the Korac Cup trophy with Limoges in 2000. Ivanovic is now the national team head coach of Bosnia and Herzegovina, too. As a player, Ivanovic led Jugoplastika Split to back-to-back Euroleague titles in 1989 and 1990 as its team captain. Ivanovic opens a new chapter in his successful coaching career by joining six-time Euroleague champions Panathinaikos.
"It's a great joy to be here in Athens and Panathinaikos. It's one of the biggest clubs in Europe. Everything here looks big: organization, history, fans, titles...," Ivanovic said. "I am really happy and it's a big motivation for me to be here for a new project."