Lietuvos Rytas: Drucker out, Sagadin in

Nov 16, 2006 by Print
Lietuvos Rytas, Sharon Drucker part ways Lietuvos Rytas surprised many on Thursday afternoon when it announced a switch in its bench, as Zmago Sagadin, 54, will be the new head coach of the team, replacing Sharon Drucker. The coach was boss for 16 years of Union Olimpija Ljubljana, the last span being last season, when he filled in for coach Pino Grdovic. Sagadin coached Olimpija to eight Slovenian League titles between 1992 and 2001 and a new one in 2006, as well as an Adriatic League trophy in 2002, but the highlight was qualification for the Final Four in 1997. Almost as important, Sagadin built Olimpija's reputation as a talent farm that prepared players for the jump to Europe's biggest clubs and the NBA.

No sooner had they lost their first ULEB Cup game together by a single point on the road than Lietuvos Rytas and head coach Sharon Drucker have parted ways. The announcement was made by the club on Thursday, two days after L. Rytas lost 78-77 to Brose Baskets in Bamberg, Germany, leaving the team's Group A record at 2-1. The club statement said that the agreement to terminate the coaching contract was mutual. "Our vision on Lithuanian and international players' role on the team was different," said Jonas Vainauskas, Lietuvos Rytas director. "We thank coach Drucker for his efforts and wish him good luck." Drucker had previously won the ULEB Cup title with Hapoel Jerusalem in 2004, the year before Lietuvos Rytas won the same trophy. "I am grateful for the chance to work in Vilnius," Drucker said. "However, we have different philosophies about basketball." Drucker's assistants, Avner Yaor and Dusan Gvozdic, left the team as well. Lietuvos Rytas currently has a 7-1 record in the Baltic League, as well.