Dimitris Itoudis: “You have to take something and make it better”

2022-08-11T11:56:41+00:00 2022-08-11T11:56:41+00:00.

Aris Barkas

11/Aug/22 11:56


Dimitris Itoudis talked to Eurohoops as the new president of the EuroLeague Head Coaches Board about his ambitions on his new role

By Aris Barkas/ barkas@eurohoops.net

For Dimitris Itoudis everything is kind of new this summer. He is the new coach of Fenerbahce, the new coach of the Greek national team heading towards the Eurobasket, and also the new president of the EuroLeague Head Coaches Board.

Once more into the spotlight while coaching Giannis Antetokounmpo, Itoudis has a lot on his plate. Still, the role of the EuroLeague Head Coaches Board president, after succeeding Zeljko Obradovic, is an equally big challenge and Itoudis talked about it to Eurohoops during the EuroLeague Head Coaches Congress in Antalya.

– How do you feel about succeeding Zeljko Obradovic both in Fenerbahce and also on the EuroLeague Head Coaches Board?

I never thought about it like this, but looking at the facts, it’s like that. Of course, in Fenerbahce, I am also succeeding Sasa Djordjevic who had a great season by winning the Turkish League title. And also, about Zeljko, for four years in the EHCB, when we all entered uncharted waters, we all had to see how this effort will end up. We made a lot of steps forward, led by Zeljko, together with (vice-president) Pablo (Laso) and (executive director) Goran (Sasic), who is the driving force of our union.

My goal was from day one when we founded the union that we expand our membership to all coaches within the Euroleague ecosystem but even beyond that. In all of our four annual assemblies and in several conference calls that we had we have been discussing that topic. For the next four years, (vice-president) Ioannis Sfairopoulos and I will try to make this possible.

Apart from all this, the congress, the clinics, and the communication, which are all great, I think we can make the next step and that’s the evolution of life. You have to take something and make it better.

– Why do coaches need a strong EuroLeague Head Coaches Board?

The EHCB was founded in a year when seven coaches were released from their duties until December, so about three months into the new season. We have established the Euroleague Basketball Dispute Resolution Chamber in Switzerland in order to protect our labor rights. This trend was stopped and we believe it has three reasons, first the existence of the EHCB, second the EBDRC, and also because of the overdue payable mechanism that was introduced into the Euroleague ByLaws. During the Covid season, we as a union reacted united to come to an agreement with the Euroleague Basketball about the Salary reduction.

So, the flipside of the coin is the EBDRC which gives us guarantees on our labor contracts but we as coaches understand our roles as being part of showing solidarity.

We need a strong union, we need strong representation which will be everywhere, in every decision-making process. Coaches are a very important and integral part of how a basketball team operates. Each coach manages all the personalities in which the teams are investing. So, it’s obvious that the coach should be asked about the pre-season conditions, the rules of the game, the size of the court, and the evolution of the game itself. Coaches, like the players, have unconditional love for the game, so it’s good to be part of the conversation.

– How do you rate the first post-COVID EHCB congress?

First of all, Antalya is a great destination. The Gloria complex and the Gloria resorts proved to be amazing hosts. I already knew it because we came here for three pre-seasons with CSKA Moscow and now everyone else attending the congress had the same experience. Ergin Ataman, who also goes regularly to the Gloria Sports Arena with Efes, and I have been together approaching Goran and our members to convince them to come here.

The sports facilities are amazing, they are providing everything you may need on a top-level team. We would like to evolve the congress even more and we will upgrade the format for next year for sure we are already in discussions with our EHCB Coaches Academy Alumni and our partners. And the fact that we got together again, we talked, we hugged, we discussed, we laughed during dinner, we had one drink, and we spent time with our families together.

The participants came from around the globe and it was the first time the first two generations of the EHCB Coaches Academy could interact in person and get to know each other after seeing themselves online the past two years. We had a welcome reception, panel discussions, on-court masterclasses, a basketball game we played, and a dinner with coaches from around the world. All in all a great event for all involved and we hope to meet again next year.