The new Turkish Airlines EuroLeague champion, CSKA Moscow, took a major first step towards keeping its momentum going into the future by signing head coach Dimitris Itoudis to a new two-year deal, the club announced on Tuesday. Itoudis, 48, arrived to Moscow in 2014-15 and has not missed a Final Four in his five seasons on CSKA's bench. He led the Russian giant to its first EuroLeague title of the current decade -- and his first as a head coach -- in 2016. They returned to the winner's circle and lifting their second trophy together last month in Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain. Itoudis is the first Greek head coach and the 15th overall to win two continental crowns. He won the EuroLeague title five more times as the first assistant coach to the all-time leader, Zeljko Obradovic, while they coached together at Panathinaikos Athens between 2000 and 2012. Both men now share the EuroLeague record for most consecutive Final Four appearances by a head coach, with five each – and counting.
In addition to his EuroLeague success, Itoudis has led CSKA to four consecutive VTB League titles, and will contest for a fifth in a row when it opens the playoff finals against Khimki Moscow Region on Wednesday. In his time with CSKA, Itoudis has led the team to a total EuroLeague record of 132-34 for a remarkable winning rate of 79.5%, the competition's best over the last five years. In addition to having been a long-time assistant coach, he was previously a head coach for PAOK, Philippos Thessaloniki and MENT in his native Greece in the 1990s. Itoudis was awarded the Alexander Gomelskiy Trophy as the EuroLeague's coach of the year in 2016.
"Thank you to CSKA, to Andrey Vatutin, and to Nornickel for the new contract," Itoudis said in the club announcement. "Thank you to all players for the results that we achieved so far. Obviously, from my side, it is all about the teamwork of the coaches, the staff, and everybody who works for CSKA. We are looking forward to another long-term collaboration, an exchange of ideas, and hopefully great basketball by the team. I also thank the fans for their trust in the team; we want you here in bigger and bigger numbers. The club is doing great job of providing the best services and entertainment. The team will keep working hard to make you proud."
"Two titles in five years speak for themselves, so Dimitris Itoudis and his staff solved the tasks," Andrey Vatutin, CSKA's President and CEO, said. "And it is not only about success in sports. We see how much Dimitris is investing love, the highest responsibility and huge respect to CSKA in his work, how attentive he is to the results of the club’s activities. Partly due to the work of the coaching staff, which makes the team play spectacular basketball and helps to create a friendly, family-like atmosphere inside the team, we bring more and more fans to the stands. I am sure that we will have many more big wins of many kinds together."