Khimki Moscow Region has a new man in charge on the bench to try to complete its playoff push in the Turkish Airlines Euroleague. The Russian club parted ways with head coach Rimas Kurtinaitis on Tuesday after five years and signed Dusko Ivanovic until the end of the 2016-17 season. One of most experienced men on Euroleague sidelines, 58-year old Ivanovic returns to the competition after leading Panathinaikos Athens to the Euroleague Playoffs and a Greek Cup title last season. A two-time Euroleague winner as a player with Jugoplastika Split in 1989 and 1990, Ivanovic started his coaching career in mid 1990s in Switzerland, with Fribourg, then moved to Limoges CSP in France where he won the Korac Cup in 2000. Ivanovic spent most of his career with Laboral Kutxa Vitoria Gasteiz, the team he led to the 2001 Euroleague playoff finals, to the Euroleague championship game in 2005, and to three more playoff appearances. He also coached FC Barcelona in between two stints in Vitoria, and served as national team head coach of Bosnia and Herzegovina the past two summers, and Swiss national team coach in the late 1990s.
Ivanovic replaced the 56-year old Kurtinaitis, who has been in charge of Khimki’s bench since 2011. He led the club to a pair of Eurocup titles, in 2012 and 2015, and subsequent Euroleague appearances in the 2012-13 and 2015-16 seasons. Khimki is pushing this campaign to make its first-ever playoff appearance, but after losing four of its last five Top 16 games, has seen its record drop from 4-1 to 5-5 in Group F. It would currently lose a tiebreak to FC Barcelona Lassa for the fourth and final playoff spot. Overall, Khimki has an 8-3 record at home and 2-7 on the road, including losses in all four Top 16 away games so far. Kurtinaitis is the only coach with three Eurocup titles to his name. He not only lifted the trophy twice with Khimki, but also won the competition with Lietuvos Rytas of his native Lithuania in 2009. In his coaching career, he also led Baku Gala of Azerbaijan, Sakalai of Lithuania, Ural Great in Russia, Slask Wroclaw of Poland and VEF Riga of Latvia.