Coach of the Year: Dimitris Itoudis!

Dimitris Itoudis (photo:
For the second time in his five seasons on CSKA Moscow’s bench, Dimitris Itoudis has been voted by his peers as the winner of the Alexander Gomelskiy Coach of the Year award. With a boundless belief in his players and their mission, Itoudis guided CSKA to victory at the 2019 EuroLeague Final Four, claiming the club’s second continental title since he took over the bench in 2014.

CSKA finished the 2018-19 season with a league-best 29-7 record after outlasting Real Madrid in the semifinals and Anadolu Efes Istanbul in the championship game to lift the club’s eighth EuroLeague title, half of which have come in the last 13 years. Itoudis, 48 years old, had led CSKA to the same title in 2016, the first time he was chosen Coach of the Year. With his five additional EuroLeague titles won as an assistant coach with Panathinaikos Athens between 2000 and 2011, Itoudis is just the third person ever to lift the trophy as many as seven times.

The Alexander Gomelskiy EuroLeague Coach of the Year award is voted on by the 16 head coaches of the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague teams, with the stipulation that no coach vote for himself. Itoudis edged Ergin Ataman of Anadolu Efes Istanbul, who finished second in the voting. Sarunas Jasikevicius of Zalgirs Kaunas placed third. Itoudis joins Zeljko Obradovic, his one-time mentor, Pablo Laso and Ettore Messina as the only men to be chosen as the Coach of the Year two or more times. With both of theirs from their time in Moscow, Itoudis and Messina give CSKA four such trophies, which are named after the club’s late, legendary coach and honorary president. No other club has more than two Coach of the Year awards.

I would like to thank all colleagues who voted for me, Itoudis said. That gives even more value to the award, because the recognition comes from the ones who compete against us trying to help their teams win. Big thank you to our players, we won the EuroLeague trophy all together this season due to their great performance, willingness to fight and sacrifice. Thank you to my assistant coaches who help me on every step, in every factor of our common job. Thank you to the management, personally to Andrey Vatutin and our owner Nornickel, for trust and huge contribution to the clubs success. Finally yet importantly, I would like to thank our fans for their trust and support in good and bad moments. Even though this award is considered a personal one, I believe its a team award, which belongs to so many people who deserve appreciation.