After opening the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague season with back-to-back defeats, Zalgiris Kaunas has quickly decided to change direction by dismissing head coach Martin Schiller after his little more than one season with the club. His replacement is Jure Zdovc, a former EuroLeague champion as a player who last coached in the 7DAYS EuroCup last season with Boulogne Metropolitans 92 of France.
“It is obvious that the team isn’t playing at the level that everybody wants to see," Zalgiris director Paulius Motiejunas said. "We have mentioned a few days ago that everyone has to take responsibility for it. Unfortunately, we couldn't waste precious time and had to take a quick decision. It doesn't mean that everything Coach Schiller was doing didn't work. Throughout 15 months, we took a lot of positivity from our collaboration. We want to thank Coach Schiller for his work and dedication."
Zdovc returns to the EuroLeague, where he coached Union Olimpija in his native Slovenia from 2008 to 2011, compiling an 8-21 record. Before that, he coached Bosna Sarajevo in the EuroCup and since then Spartak St Petersburg, Cedevita Zagreb and Metropolitans in the EuroCup for a lifetime record in that competition of 41-31. Zdovc has also coached Split in Croatian, Slovan in Slovenia, Iraklis and AEK Athens in Greece, and Gaziantep in Turkey. As a player, among his many accolades, he was a world champion and Olympics silver medalist with Yugoslavia and won the EuroLeague title with Limoges of France in 1993.
The 54-year-old Zdovc is set to replace Schiller "when all the formalities will be taken care of in the next few days," the club said in it's statement.
Schiller, 39, led Zalgiris to a 17-17 record last season, his first with the club or in the EuroLeague. The team was streaky, winning its first four games, but soon losing six in a row only to follow that by stringing together six more victories. That left Zalgiris with an 11-7 record on January 6, but a 6 and 10 slide after that left the team out of the playoffs by several wins. This season, Zalgiris fell 88-76 on the road in Round 1 and went home on Thursday to lose 64-70 to Zenit St Petersburg.