The name Svetislav Pesic is anything but an unknown for German basketball fans the Serbian coaching legend was responsible for two of the biggest successes in German basketball history. And now the 62-year-old is being heavily rumored as new head coach of the German national team.
Pesic and the German Basketball Federation (DBB) have both confirmed in various German media outlets that talks have taken place with a decision to come “at the end of January or early February”.
DBB President Ingo Weiss was quoted by the news agency dapd that no contract has been signed with Pesic, who currently is coaching Serbian club Red Star Belgrade. “I am still in talks with three candidates. One of them is Pesic,” said Weiss.
Pesic coached the German national team from 1987 to 1993, guiding the Germans to the 1993 European championship title. He then coached years at German club powers Alba Berlin, winning four championships and two German Cup crowns. He also led Berlin to the 1995 Korac Cup title. He also was head coach for Barcelona in 2003 when they won the triple – Spanish league, cup and Euroleague crown.
Weiss has been hesitant to confirm a candidate for the position which opened up when past coach Dirk Bauermann elected to remain coach at Bayern Munich and rescind his spot with Germany.
Since then a number of names have been thrown out there besides Pesic as Bauermann’s successor.
The top alternative seems to be Frank Menz, who coached both the German U20 and A2 national teams and received a boost from Bauermann.
“Frank is an excellent man, who has learned a lot and was also with us at EuroBasket 2009. He knows the system; knows the players now coming up; and would continue the concept. Therefore he is certainly a logical candidate. But others will decide if he is my successor,” Bauermann told sport1.de on September 13.
A day earlier the German language sports portal spox.com mentioned Tony DiLeo as a strong candidate as well. And the current Philadelphia 76ers senior vice president and assistant general manager admitted interest, saying: “The job has its appeal. Everything is possible.”
DiLeo was in Lithuania at EuroBasket 2011 and both he and Weiss confirmed talking at in Vilnius – though both said it was only an informal chat.
DiLeo coached in German from 1979 to 1990, winning seven straight German women’s titles with DJK Agon 08 Düsseldorf and coaching the German women’s national team from 1981 to 1986. He then coached BSC Saturn Köln to two men’s titles from 1986 to 1990 before returning to the United States and moved to the 76ers organization.
In addition, DiLeo’s older son T.J. DiLeo is a German youth international while playing at Temple in the U.S.
Germany’s next games will come in August and September as they attempt to qualify for EuroBasket 2013, being drawn into qualifying Group B with Bulgaria, Sweden, Luxembourg and Azerbaijan.