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World of Basketball Mourns Death of Legendary Coach Dusan Ivkovic

Dusan Ivkovic basketball
Dusan Ivkovic was adored in his homeland of Serbia and in Greece, where he managed several clubs during his illustrious career. Credit: Twitter/Košarkaški savez SRB

Legendary basketball coach Dusan Ivkovic passed away in the early hours of Thursday morning in a Belgrade, Serbia hospital after a brief illness. He was 78.

Ivkovic, who coached several Greek basketball clubs, was known as one of the most influential coaches in European and world basketball, having won numerous titles in his 46 years on the job.

The Serbian coach began his career with the youth squad of Radnički Belgrade, before moving to Partizan in 1978 and winning the Yugoslavian championship in 1979.

Ivkovic coached several Greek basketball clubs

He then went on to coach Aris, PAOK, Panionios, Olympiacos (winning the EuroLeague title twice in 1997, 2012) and AEK Athens in Greece, as well as CSKA and Dynamo Moscow.

He ended his career in Anadolu Efes in 2016 after two seasons with the Turkish club.

“One of the greatest coaches that ever lived. He won all there is to win in Europe in terms of major trophies, including two Euroleague titles with Olympiacos,” the Greek club wrote on Twitter.

Basketball rivals PAOK also paid tribute to coach Ivkovic: “The teacher, the mentor, the great Dusan Ivkovic. A huge basketball personality passed away this earlier today. The memories will stay with us for ever, together with his enormous contribution to the sport. Fare well Duda…” the Thessaloniki club said on Twitter.


Triumphs with Yugoslavia, Serbia

As a head coach for the Yugoslavian selection, “Duda” led the squad to several gold medals, including at the 1989 and 1991 EuroBasket and at the 1990 FIBA World Cup.

The triumph of Yugoslavia in 1990 marked the end of the “amateur rule” in international basketball. It was the last major FIBA tournament in which NBA players were not allowed to compete. The roster included, among others, Drazen Petrovic, Toni Kukoc, Vlade Divac, Zarko Paspalj, and at point guard Ivkovic’s heir as the most dominant basketball coach in Europe, Zeljko Obradovic.

He coached the Serbian national selection as well, winning gold at the 1995 EuroBasket and silver in the 2009 edition.

In 2008, he was named one of the 50 Greatest EuroLeague Contributors. He was elected to the FIBA Hall of Fame in 2017. He was also named a EuroLeague Basketball Legend in 2017.

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