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BASKETBALL > Simone Pianigiani resigns as Fenerbahçe Ülker coach

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News

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Italian coach Simone Pianigiani failed to deliver on the high expectations at Fenerbahçe Ülker, where he arrived after six seasons with Montepaschi Siena. AA photo

Italian coach Simone Pianigiani failed to deliver on the high expectations at Fenerbahçe Ülker, where he arrived after six seasons with Montepaschi Siena. AA photo

Fenerbahçe Ülker coach Simone Pianigiani announced his resignation from the Istanbul basketball club on Feb. 24, in the wake of a series of poor European results.

The club said the Italian coach resigned due to “personal reasons.”

“I thank Fenerbahçe Sports Club for the support I received during my time at Fenerbahçe Ülker, one of the most prestigious clubs in Europe,” Pianigiani said in a statement. “I am proud to be a member of the great Fenerbahçe family.”

Ertuğrul Erdoğan will act as a caretaker coach in the absence of Pianigiani, the club said.

Pianigiani’s decision was announced just two days after Fenerbahçe Ülker suffered a historic defeat to Barcelona Regal in the Turkish Airlines Euroleague.

The Yellow Canaries lost 99-60 at home to the Catalan giants in a game that set an unwanted record for allowing the biggest margin at the halftime of a home game in the top-level European club basketball competition. Fenerbahçe trailed 50-19 at halftime.

After advancing to the Top 16 stage of the competition, Fenerbahçe had a dismal run of getting just two wins in eight matches.

Domestic performance not enough

Fenerbahçe Ülker was better in domestic competition and won the Turkish Cup over archrival Galatasaray earlier this month. The Istanbul team, with a 16-2 winning record, is also just behind leader Banvit (17-2) ahead of the Beşiktaş game, which is scheduled for this evening.

Piani gained his status among the top coaches in Europe after leading Montepaschi Siena to six consecutive league titles between 2007 and 2012. He has also led Siena to two Euroleague Final Four appearances.

With that in mind, Fenerbahçe Ülker emerged as a Euroleague title contender with the arrival of Pianigiani and several key players, including veteran American center Mike Batiste, Central African guard Romain Sato, American guard Bo McCalebb and Australian forward David Andersen. k HDN

February/25/2013

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