Pianigiani Steps Down As Fener Coach

25 February 2013

EUROBASKET 2013

Simone Pianigiani, Fenerbahce Ülker
Simone Pianigiani has stood down from his coaching role with Fenerbahce Ülker

Italian national team head coach Simone Pianigiani has resigned from his position at Fenerbahce Ulker, a laconic statement on the club's official website announced on Sunday.

According to the statement, the Italian tactician reached the decision due to personal reasons.

"I would like to thank everyone at Fenerbahce, one of Europe's most prestigious clubs for the support I received during my time here," Pianigiani said.

"I am proud to be have been part of the big family of Fenerbace Ulker Istanbul," he added.

From their part, the Turkish powerhouse thanked the coach in the same statement for the 'seriousness and professionalism demonstrated during his tenure at the club' and wished him the 'best of luck for the next stage of his career and every success in life.'

The announcement came on the eve of a key encounter for Fener in the Turkish BEKO Ligi, away at Besiktas on Monday night.

A win will maintain the Istanbul club at the top of the domestic league standings, as they are currently at 16-2 and Banvit are first with a 17-2 record and a game in hand.

Pianigiani was put in charge at Fenerbahce in the summer, after a career at Montepaschi Siena that spanned close to two decades.

He started as a youth team coach at the club of his native city in the mid-90's, then became an assistant on the senior team and finally took over as head coach in 2006.

The 43-year-old play-caller led Siena to six consecutive Italian championship and four domestic cup titles, as well as two participations in the Turkish Airlines Euroleague Final Four, in 2008 and 2011.

His title-winning record remained impeccable at Fener, despite his premature departure, as the Istanbul club conquered the Turkish Spor Toto Cup title earlier in February.

Pianigiani however did not coach the team at the Final Eight, as he was rushed to hospital with a virus infection just hours before the start of the quarter-final.

His resignation came just three days after a heavy 99-60 defeat at home to Barcelona Regal in Euroleague action.

Fenerbahce are penultimate in Top 16 Group F with a 2-6 record and their chances of advancing to the Euroleague play-offs have diminished significantly.

The development is not expected to influence Pianigiani's agreement with the Italian Basketball Federation (FIP) and he should be at the helm of Italy at EuroBasket 2013, following an amazingly successful campaign last summer, which saw the Azzurri finish as the best team in the entire EuroBasket Qualification Round.

Italy were drawn in First Round Group D in the show-piece event in Slovenia and will go up against Turkey, Russia, Greece, Finland and Sweden.


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