Just 1 point... 03novemberJust 1 point...

Today, the capital basketball players held their fourth match of VTB United League. BC Astana played away with the champion of Ukraine - BC...

Ukraine meets BC Astana 02novemberUkraine meets BC Astana

Tomorrow, on November 3rd, the capital basketball players will play on away their 4th match in the VTB United League. This time the BC Astana will play in...

2:0 in BC Astana's favor 30october2:0 in BC Astana's favor

Today, the series of Kazakhstan basketball championship games between the capital club Astana and BC Barsy Atyrau has ended in Astana. The capital basketball...


Point guard of BC Astana Jerry Johnson is the best player in the third round of VTB United League. The honorary title of point guard of BC Astana goes not only...

Hard victory of BC Astana 27octoberHard victory of BC Astana

Today, the capital of Kazakhstan hosted the third round of the VTB United League, in which BC Astana played with BC Krasnie Krylia from Samara,...

Now in its 5th season, the VTB United League can boast more than just ferocious competition and a range of skilled, explosive talent on the court. Pacing the League sidelines are some of Europe’s finest coaches and up-and-coming names in the profession.
Rimas Kurtinaitis has led Khimki to a 15-0 start, Andrea Trinchieri and UNICS have lost just once this season, Ettore Messina leads powerhouse club CSKA, Evgeny Pashutin helms an ambitious Lokomotiv-Kuban squad… Which of them will win the title this season? How will Triumph’s Vasily Karasev, VEF’s Ramunas Butautas and Krasnye Krylia’s Sergei Bazarevich fare in the postseason? Who will win the battle of Serbian coaches – Zoran Lukic (Nizhny Novgorod), Aleksandar Petrovic (Lietuvos Rytas) or Aleksandar Trifunovich (Astana)?
In anticipation of receiving the answers to these and other questions, VTB-League.com has compiled a ranking of the VTB United League’s winningest coaches in history*.
*Minimum 10 games played and winning percentage of .500 or better.
Top 15 most effective coaches in League history:
15. Vasily Karasev

Club: Triumph (2011/12, 2012/13, 2013/14)
Record: 17-16
Winning Percentage: 51.5%
Triumph’s Vasily Karasev was one of Europe’s top point guards in the 1990s. Now one of Russia’s most promising young coaches, he first joined the VTB United League last season. He’s done well so far, leading Triumph to the playoffs in its debut season. This season, the team has further improved, sitting at 8-5 and 3rd place in Group B, trailing just Khimki and CSKA. It’s been a great run so far from Triumph and its head coach, who fully deserves his place on this list.
14. Ramunas Butautas
Clubs: Donetsk (2009/10), Zalgiris (2009/10), VEF (2011/12, 2012/13, 2013/14)
Record: 31-29
Winning Percentage: 51.7%
After stops in Donetsk and Kaunas, where he had the opportunity to coach in the inaugural VTB United League season, Lithuanian coach Ramunas Butautas ultimately ended up in Riga. He’s been right at home ever since. Butautas is in his 3rd season with VEF and the club has seen significant progress. Last season, Riga turned a lot of heads around the league with several signature upsets and its first postseason appearance. VEF guard E.J. Rowland even won the MVP award. This year, Butautas must do without his star player, but VEF continues to win and hopes to do more than just qualify for the playoffs.
13. Sergei Bazarevich
Club: Krasnye Krylia (2011/12, 2012/13, 2013/14)
Record: 28-25
Winning Percentage: 52.8%
According to many analysts, Sergei Bazarevich is one of the most talented young coaches in the League. Another well-known guard on the Russian national team in the 1990s, he joined Krasnye Krylia Samara in 2011 and has instilled an attractive, smart brand of basketball at the club, despite various difficulties. Last season, Krylia enjoyed its best year yet, winning two titles (the Russian Cup and EuroChallenge) and finishing in 3rd place in its VTB United League regular-season group. After dispatching Triumph in the first round, Samara took CSKA to four games in the quarterfinals, nearly forcing a Game 5. These days, Sergei Bazarevich is trying to help his team recover from the loss of several key players midseason and an ensuing losing streak. By the time the playoffs roll around in May, expect the Russian coach to have his club back at full strength.  
12. Aleksandar Trifunovich
Clubs: Lietuvos Rytas (2010/11), Zalgiris (2011/12), Astana (2013/14)
Record: 17-13
Winning Percentage: 56.7%
Serbian coach Aleksandar Trifunovich hasn’t had tremendous success with Lithuanian clubs in the VTB United League. Lietuvos Rytas failed to make the playoffs during his tenure, while Zalgiris lost badly to Lokomotiv-Kuban in the postseason two seasons ago, after he joined the team late in the year. Nonetheless, Trifunovich has won more games than he’s lost in the league and has had a positive impact at Astana. He took over at the club for Matteo Boniciolli in December and has helped the club to a 4-3 record since then, which brings Astana back into position for a playoff spot.
11. Aleksandar Dzikic
Club: Lietuvos Rytas (2011/12, 2012/13)
Record: 15-10
Winning Percentage: 60.0%
Yet another Serbian representative, Aleksandar Dzikic, joined Lietuvos Rytas in 2011, having previously won the EuroChallenge and worked as an assistant for Spurs coach Gregg Popovich. Dzikic’s first season in the VTB United League with Rytas was a success: The team finished in 3rd place in the Final Four held in Vilnius, losing a heartbreaker to CSKA in the semifinals. But a tough offseason (including Jonas Valanciunas’s departure to the NBA), meant Rytas got off to a slow start the following year. As a result, Dzikic was shown the door midseason.
10. Sergio Scariolo
Club: Khimki (2009/10, 2010/11)
Record: 8-5
Winning Percentage: 61.5%
Coached by Scariolo, ambitious Khimki Moscow Region missed out on a top-3 finish in the inaugural VTB United League season. The Italian was given a second chance, but failed to take advantage. The team once again came up short in several big games during the 2010/11 season, leading to his premature departure. In Scariolo’s case, the .615 winning percentage exaggerates his legacy at the club.
9. Aco Petrovic
Clubs: Zalgiris (2010/11), Azovmash (2011/12), UNICS (2012/13)
Record: 15-9
Winning Percentage: 62.5%
The third and final Serb in our rating, Aco Petrovic, managed to spend time with three different League clubs, though he failed to stay around for very long at any stop. Zalgiris, Azovmash and UNICS each hired Petrovic, banking on his previous coaching successes, and hoped for more than just a positive balance of wins and losses. Last season, Petrovic left the UNICS job with an 8-4 record in the regular season, which looks good in this ranking, but doesn’t cut it for one of the league’s leading clubs.
8. Jurij Zdovc
Club: Spartak (2011/12, 2012/13)
Record: 23-13
Winning Percentage: 63.9%
Slovenia native Jurij Zdovc guided Spartak to a sensational regular-season record in his first year at the club, as they finished in 2nd place in their group (defeating an Andrei Kirilenko-led CSKA along the way). But the Red and White eventually ran out of steam. A poor performance in the playoffs and slow start the following season, compounded by financial and roster instability, forced the club to replace its coach and, a bit later, its entire club strategy. Still, Zdovc’s 23-13 record with Spartak in the VTB United League is nothing to scoff at.
7. Stanislav Eremin
Club: UNICS (2012/13)
Record: 7-3
Winning Percentage: 70.0%
Stanislav Eremin, one of Russian basketball’s most honored and successful coaches, took over for the 2nd time at UNICS in 2013, replacing Petrovic midway through the 2012/13 season. In charge at UNICS from 2000-2006, he then served in a front-office role, before this brief return to the bench last winter. Despite various difficulties, Eremin did a solid job with the team. The club won 7 of its final 10 games in the league, putting up a solid fight against Lokomotiv-Kuban in the playoff quarterfinals, to somewhat redeem the season. Eremin fully deserves his place here, both for his performance last season and for his previous accomplishments.
6. Rimas Kurtinaitis
Clubs: VEF (2010/11), Khimki (2010/11, 2011/12, 2012/13, 2013/14)
Record: 52-20
Winning Percentage: 72.2%
Rimas Kurtainitis, one of the league’s most successful and highly-regarded coaches, won his first games in the competition back in 2010, while coaching VEF (Latvia). At the end of that season, just before the Final Four in Kazan, the Lithuanian coach accepted the offer to take the Khimki job and immediately led his club to the title! That’s how the Kurtinaitis era began at Khimki. This year, despite the departure of several key players, Khimki continues to wow coaches and fans. Kurtinaitis and co. have essentially guaranteed 1st place in the group by defeating CSKA twice and set a new VTB United League record along the way: 15 consecutive wins! The streak is still alive and could continue to grow, just as Kurtinaitis has an excellent chance of moving up the coaching ranking.
5. Evgeny Pashutin
Clubs: CSKA (2009/10), UNICS (2010/11, 2011/12), Lokomotiv-Kuban (2012/13, 2013/14)
Record: 60-22
Winning Percentage: 73.2%
Evgeny Pashutin leads the VTB United League in games coached and wins. He’s the only coach to feature in all five seasons. And each time he’s led his club to a top-3 finish. CSKA won the championship in 2010, UNICS took 3rd place in 2011 and 2nd place in 2012, while Lokomotiv-Kuban was runner-up last season. What will happen this season?
4. Joan Plaza
Club: Zalgiris (2012/13)
Record: 20-6
Winning Percentage: 76.9%
Spaniard Joan Plaza enjoyed a fiery, but brief run in the VTB United League. In charge of Zalgiris (Lithuania) last season (the club’s first and only Spanish coach), Plaza’s club earned the respect of all of Europe. The star-studded, balanced squad easily finished in 1st place in its group, defeating CSKA twice, and winning 12 straight along the way. But then financial problems struck, leading to the departure of several key players, and preventing Plaza from finishing the season strong. Kaunas just didn’t have the strength and roster depth needed in the semifinal series with Lokomotiv-Kuban, falling in four games. Once the season ended, the financial backing was also lacking to keep the talented Spaniard around.
3. Ettore Messina
Club: CSKA (2012/13, 2013/14)
Record: 36-9
Winning Percentage: 80.0%
After a three-year absence, Ettore Messina returned to CSKA in 2012. The famed Italian, one of Europe’s most respected basketball coaches, returned with one goal in mind: to win. He came up short in the Euroleague last season, but the Army Men did enjoy a well-earned VTB United League championship under Messina in 2013. It’s hard to predict how this season will turn out for Messina and CSKA. The losses to Khimki have complicated the playoff picture, but few doubt that the Army club will be at full strength for the postseason and be favored to repeat as champions. Messina, for his part, will do all he can to improve his winning percentage.
2. Jonas Kazlauskas
Club: CSKA (2010/11, 2011/12)
Record: 20-3
Winning Percentage: 87.0%
As one of Europe’s top coaches, Jonas Kazlauskas joined CSKA midway through the 2010/11 season – following an unsuccessful stint by Serbian coach Dusko Vujosevic. The experienced Lithuanian leader handled his responsibilities well, though the club did fall to Khimk in the 2011 Final Four. Kazlauskas’s 2nd season in the VTB United League featured the return of Andrei Kirilenko, who led the team to a championship. In just under two seasons with Kazlauskas, CSKA won nearly 90% of its games in the League. But a shocking loss in the 2012 Euroleague final brought a premature end to the Lithuanian coach’s tenure at CSKA.
1. Andrea Trinchieri
Club: UNICS (2013/14)
Record: 12-1
Winning Percentage: 92.3%
Kazlauskas would have topped this ranking, if not for newly-minted UNICS coach Andrea Trinchieri. The young, confident Italian, who took over in Kazan this summer, has brought an enormous amount of energy and excitement to the club. UNICS got off to a strong start and has yet to cool off, having practically clinched 1st place in Group A. The team did suffer one surprising loss in the fall, dropping a close game in Tallinn to Kalev. Overall, UNICS’s play has fans ranking them alongside CSKA and Khimki as the primary title contenders. Who knows, perhaps the Italian coach will further solidify his place atop the ranking during the postseason.