Over the years, there have been many basketball coaches, but only a handful of them reach the legendary status of Dusan Ivkovic. Unfortunately, a few hours ago it was revealed that the former Yugoslavia and Serbia coach passed away due to complications in his health.
Dusan Ivkovic was arguably one of the best basketball coaches that ever stepped foot on the basketball court. He had an illustrious coaching career that lasted 46 years.
Once the news broke about his death, basketball teams, former players, and fans from all around the globe mourned the loss on Twitter.
Talking about his phenomenal career, he began his journey as a coach with the youth squad of Radnicki Belgrade. Impressed by his tactics, he was hired as the head coach of Partizan in 1978. After taking the helm of the team, he led them to the Yugoslavian championship, FIBA Korac Cup, and Yugoslav Cup in 1979.
These amazing championship runs put Dusan on the map and then started his rise in European basketball. Looking at his accolades specifically in club basketball, he had a plethora of accolades to his name:
Yugoslav League Champion (1979), Yugoslav Cup Winner (1979), FIBA Korac Cup (1979) with Partizan Belgrade, Greek League champion with PAOK Thessaloniki (1992), 2-time Greek League champion with Olympiacos (1997 and 2012), Saporta Cup champion with AEK (2000), 2-time Greek Cup winner with Olympiacos (1997 and 2011), 2-time Greek Cup winner with AEK (2000 and 2001), 2-time Euroleague champion with Olympiacos (1997 and 2012), 3-time Russian League champion with CSKA Moscow (2003, 2004 and 2005), Russian Cup winner with CSKA Moscow (2005), EuroCup champion with Dynamo Moscow (2006), Turkish Cup winner with Anadolu Efes (2015), and Turkish President’s Cup winner with Anadolu Efes (2015).
But his career wasn't limited to just club basketball. He coached the national team on multiple occasions and generated the same level of success there as well.
Gold medals at EuroBasket (1989, 1991, and 1995), a gold medal at FIBA World Cup (1990), and a silver medal at Summer Olympic Games in Seul (1988) with the Yugoslavian selection.
He led the Serbian national team to a silver medal at EuroBasket (2009) as well.
One of the best performances under coach Duda came when Yugoslavia faced off against Lithuania in the 1995 EuroBasket. You can check the highlights below:
Dusan Ivkovic was the head coach of the Yugoslavian 'Dream Team' featuring Toni Kukoc, Vlade Divac, Aleksandar Djordjevic, Drazen Petrovic, Predrag Danilovic, Dino Radja, Zarko Paspalj, and others. As reported by Rolling Stone, because of politics, Yugoslavia failed to participate in the 1992 Olympic Games where they would have faced the USA Dream Team that had the likes Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, and Larry Bird, and that might be one of the biggest 'what if' matches in basketball history.
Duda's impact on his former players was immeasurable, and they were completely heartbroken upon hearing this news.
Kyle Hines said: "Rest in Peace Coach Duda Thank you for the opportunity you gave me on the basketball court. But more importantly, thank you for the life lessons you gave me off the court. We will all miss you legend My prayers and condolences to your family."
Vassilis Spanoulis said: "Ahh Duda. TEACHER, LEADER, LORD!!! The words are very few in front of your greatness. Thank you for everything you taught me. For being my mentor and being always next to me. You were basketball itself. I’m heartbroken."
In a comprehensive interview with Sports24, coach Dusan shared his entire journey. It is quite amazing how influential he was during his playing days and even after his death, he will forever remain in the hearts of fans and players.
We at Fadeaway World send our deepest condolences to his family and loved ones. You will be missed. Rest In Peace, Coach.