By Alex Madrid / firstname.lastname@example.org
Luck is part of sports. However, in order to achieve success, something else is also necessary. The winning gene might seem like a cliché or just a coincidence. But, sometimes it is the basis for building a winning team.
It seems difficult to explain that a team with European aspirations could choose a coach who won five games with the worst team of the league the previous season. That is the case of UCAM Murcia and Ibon Navarro. And both time and victories have proved both the club and the coach right.
We must go back a long time to understand the winning soul of Navarro. The coach, who was born in Vitoria, used to go to Baskonia‘s games when he was a kid. Also, in his city, he would take his first steps as a coach and soon, the Basque team would choose him to take charge of the youth team.
Ibon Navarro, who was a chemist, didn’t hesitate to leave Vitoria and start his career as an assistant in the Spanish second division but his adventure in Tenerife was short-lived. Neven Spahija chose him as an assistant for the first Baskonia team in what would end up being a dream season. Ibon Navarro would win the Spanish Supercopa and the ACB League as an assistant in 2008.
Despite the achievements, Josean Querejeta decided to put Dusko Ivanovic in charge of the team, replacing Shahija but Navarro stayed as an assistant. Navarro has always said that he learned a lot from the Montenegrin: “He believed in his way of working, his philosophy and made everyone believe it. When someone was skeptical, he was able to impose himself and show that it worked”. Add another Spanish League, another Supercopa, and a Copa del Rey to his trophy case.
After receiving influences from Spahija or Ivanovic, Paco Olmos – in the Puerto Rican national team – and Velimir Perasovic helped him to become the coach that he is today. And after a short stay in Valencia during for two seasons between 2011 and 2013, he returned to his homeland, Vitoria, this time under Sergio Scariolo for the 2013-14 season.
Another Italian coach, Marco Crespi, would take the place of the Spanish national team coach in the 2014-2015 season, but Crespi was shacked early in the season. And Querejeta gave the team to Ibon Navarro, a coach who knew the club and was part of the glory years of Baskonia.
Navarro gained experience in the ACB League and in the EuroLeague as the head coach. It was enough to decline the offer by which he would be incorporated into the structure of Baskonia and replaced by another head coach during the summer of 2015. It was the moment to make a name by himself on the benches of the most important domestic league in Europe.
He won just fifteen games in two seasons with Manresa but UCAM Murcia didn’t care. After losing Fotis Katsikaris and Facundo Campazzo, they entrusted in one of the most promising Spanish coaches their project. Ibon Navarro, who had demonstrated his character and personality, came to a group with high ambitions that led them to the Basketball Champions League Final Four.
Two steps away from the glory in Athens, Ibon Navarro hopes to make his mark in the Basketball Champions League.
Ibon Navarro’s Trophy Case
|2007/2008||TAU Cerámica||ACB champion|
|2007/2008||TAU Cerámica||Copa del Rey runner-up|
|2007/2008||TAU Cerámica||Supercopa champion|
|2008/2009||TAU Cerámica||ACB runner-up|
|2008/2009||TAU Cerámica||Copa del Rey champion|
|2008/2009||TAU Cerámica||Supercopa champion|
|2009/2010||Caja Laboral||ACB champion|
|2011/2012||Valencia Basket||EuroCup runner-up|
|2012/2013||Valencia Basket||Copa del Rey runner-up|
|2014||Puerto Rico||Centrobasket Silver medal|
Photo credit: BCL