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Basketball world in mourning after death of legendary Serbian coach Dusan Ivkovic

BELGRADE (Serbia) - The basketball world is in mourning following the passing of legendary Serbian coach, Dusan Ivkovic.

Enshrined into the FIBA Hall of Fame in 2017, Ivkovic was a giant in his profession who claimed title successes as a national team coach, and also while at the helm of numerous clubs. He was also a member of the FIBA Technical Commission.

He has died at the age of 77.

"The FIBA family mourns the passing of one of the most remarkable minds in the history of our sport," said FIBA Secretary General Andreas Zagklis. "Few people have left as deep an imprint in basketball as coach Ivkovic, and his legacy will most certainly live on through the many generations of players, coaches and fans he inspired."

FIBA Europe President Turgay Demirel also paid tribute to Ivkovic.

"From the many famous triumphs in international basketball with his country or as a master tactician during his illustrious coaching career at club level in Europe, Dusan Ivkovic has left an indelible mark within our basketball community," he said.

Born in Belgrade in 1943, Ivkovic, like his older brother Slobodan "Piva", fell in love with basketball in childhood. Though he would go on to study and graduate from the Faculty of Mining and Geology in Belgrade, his career calling was basketball.

Ivkovic played for his hometown club of Radnicki from 1958 to1968 and then took his first steps as a coach at the club (1968-78). It was as a coach that he became a giant figure in the sport.

He worked at Partizan (1978-1980), at Aris (1980-1982), at Radnicki again (1982-1984) and Sibenka (1984-1987) before grabbing the helm of Yugoslavia in 1987.

Having won silver at the 1988 Olympics, Ivkovic had his finest hour at the FIBA Basketball World Cup 1990 in Argentina. He led a Yugoslavia team that had Drazen Petrovic, Vlade Divac, Zarko Paspalj, Toni Kukoc, Zoran Savic, Jure Zdovc and Velimir Perasovic to seven victories in eight games and to the top of the podium.

Ivkovic's team won theFIBA Basketball World Cup 1990 in Argentina

That Yugoslavia team beat the USA in the Semi-Finals and then the Soviet Union in the championship game.

As the head coach of the national team, he also lifted the FIBA EuroBasket title on three separate occasions in 1989, 1991 and 1995.

While the 1995 triumph over Lithuania marked the end of his first spell as a head coach of the national team, he did return to international basketball in 2008 as the head coach of a newly independent Serbia.

Ivkovic had stunning, immediate success with a promising but untested new generation that had the likes of Milos Teodosic, Nemanja Bjelica and other young talents.

One of Ivkovic's great acts was to lead a young Serbia team to the FIBA EuroBasket 2009 Final

He got the team through a successful qualification for FIBA EuroBasket 2009 in Poland, where they surprised reigning world champions Spain in their very first game and went on to finish runners-up.

Ivkovic's success at the club level includes five continental competition titles, having won the Korac Cup with Partizan in 1979, the Euroleague with Olympiacos in 1997 and 2012, the Saporta Cup with AEK in 2000, and the ULEB Cup with Dynamo Moscow in 2006.