Euroleague Basketball joins the family of Serbian and European basketball in mourning the premature passing of head coach Aleksandar “Aco” Petrovic on Tuesday in Belgrade.
Mr. Petrovic was 55 years old and had battled ALS in recent years. He had coached in both the Eurocup and the Turkish Airlines Euroleague over the last 11 seasons and was an assistant coach when Yugoslavia won the 2002 FIBA World Championships in Indianapolis, the United States.
His coaching career started in Radnicki Beograd in 1993 and in 1997 he moved to Crvena Zvezda, where he took the Yugoslav League trophy as an assistant coach. He became head coach of FMP from 1998 to 2003, earning one Yugoslav Cup final appearance which he would repeat with Hemofarm Vrsac, where he headed the bench in 2003-04.
His next stop, until 2007, was Lokomotiv Rostov in Russia, with whom he reached the FIBA Europa Cup finals in 2005. Then he took over at Unics Kazan from 2007 to 2009. Unics under Petrovic played in the Eurocup Final Eight in 2008, won the Russian Cup in 2009 and finished third in the Russian League the same season. In 2009, Petrovic coached Crvena Zvezda again, in 2010 Zalgiris, FMP again in 2011 and BC Azovmash in 2011.
His last coaching contract was with Unics in the 2012-13 season. His last game on the bench was against his former team, Crvena Zvezda, in that season’s Eurocup. Petrovic was assistant coach to Svetislav Pesic in 2001 when the Yugoslav National team took gold at European Championship in Istanbul. A year later, the same coaching team took gold at FIBA World Championship in Indianapolis. Petrovic was also assistant to Dusan Ivkovic when the Serbian national team took silver at the 2009 EuroBasket championship.