An undisputed legend as a player, Rimas Kurtinaitis now has a chance to make history as a head coach, too, by becoming the first to win the Eurocup twice.
Kurtinaitis is regarded as one of the best shooters in basketball history, one of the marksmen who gave Lithuania its reputation for long-distance scorers.
He accrued domestic titles as a player with both Zalgiris Kaunas of Lithuania and Real Madrid of Spain, and also led the Soviet Union to many titles, including an Olympic gold medal in 1988. Kurtinaitis also won back-to-back Olympic bronze medals with Lithuania in 1992 and 1996. He retired at age 46 as a player-coach for Azerbaijan side Gala BC Baku.
Kurtinaitis resumed his coaching career with Ural Great of Russia, Sakalai Vilnius of Lithuania and Slask Wroclaw of Poland before joining Lietuvos Rytas in 2008. Immediately, Kurtinaitis led Rytas to its best season ever, with five titles. Their crowning achievement was lifting the Eurocup trophy after Rytas rallied to beat Khimki 80-74 in an unforgettable final that opened the door to the team's Euroleague return.
After a short stay with VEF Riga of Latvia, Kurtinaitis joined Khimki in March 2011. This season, he has led Khimki to exactly where the club wished to be at this point, all the while being a players' coach whose teams seek open shots for everyone. Indeed, Kurtinaitis not only identifies with players, but still regularly beats his in shooting contests at practice. Now he is plans to be a fans' coach, too, by giving the Khimki faithful what he took from them in 2009 - the Eurocup trophy!