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Greek Basketball Coach Giannis Ioannidis Dies at 78

Greek basketball coach Giannis Ioannidis
The Greek basketball world is mourning the loss of Giannis Ioannidis, who died at the age of 78. Credit: Kolokotronis1770 / CC-BY-SA-3.0 / Wikimedia Commons

The Greek basketball world is mourning the loss of Giannis Ioannidis, who died at the age of 78. Ioannidis was a respected figure in Greek sport, particularly known for his coaching work with Aris and Olympiacos in the ’80s and ’90s. He passed away from health problems he had struggled with in recent years.

Often referred to as the “blonde” of Greek basketball, Ioannidis left an indelible mark as a coach. He has held coaching positions at Aris, Olympiacos, AEK, Larissa, and the Greek national men’s basketball team. With twelve Greek titles, Ioannidis still holds the record in Greece. In addition, he has the most wins in championship matches (418).

During his career, Ioannidis won eighteen titles, including twelve Greek Championships and six Greek Cups. However, despite reaching the EuroLeague Final Four six times, he didn’t secure the European title.

Giannis Ioannidis’ Life and Love of Basketball

Ioannidis was born in Thessaloniki on February 26, 1945 and began his basketball journey as a player in 1960 with the Aris team. However, his passion for coaching began early, and, in 1977, he became Ergotelis’ coach while still an active player.

After his playing career, Ioannidis switched to coaching and achieved significant success. His time with Aris marked a period of dominance, winning championships in 1979, 1983, and a remarkable five straight titles from 1985 to 1990. His collaboration with basketball legends Nikos Galis and Panagiotis Giannakis revolutionized Greek basketball.

In 1991, Olympiacos brought Ioannidis to Piraeus, where he created another basketball dynasty. He won four championships in a row from 1993 to 1996 and reached two European Cup finals. His coaching journey also included a stint at AEK, another EuroLeague final, and a return to Olympiacos.

Ioannidis returned briefly as coach of the Greek national team in the 2002–2003 season, leading them to EuroBasket 2003.

In addition to his basketball career, Ioannidis was active in politics, holding positions as Deputy Minister of Culture and Sports and Member of Parliament, leaving an enduring legacy in Greek sports.

Another Greek Basketball Legend Awarded an Honorary Sports Doctorate

Another Greek basketball legend, Nikos Galis, was awarded an honorary sports doctorate by the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in recognition of his substantial contributions to sports, culture, and society.

Galis, known for igniting Greek interest in basketball and inspiring youth, expressed his gratitude for the special honor and emphasized the importance of education and hard work. He encouraged young individuals to pursue their dreams but stressed that achieving success requires dedication and talent, coupled with education and strong values. Galis, deeply connected to Thessaloniki, shared his love for the city and vowed to remain there. University officials praised his modesty and exemplary role for the youth, acknowledging his transformative impact on Greek basketball.

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