MOSCOW (Reuters) - Evgeny Pashutin has been named Russia basketball coach although he will continue to manage his club side Lokomotiv Kuban, the country’s basketball federation (RBF) said on Friday.
Pashutin replaces Vasily Karasev, whose four-month spell at the helm ended following Russia’s disappointing performance at the European championships in Slovenia in September.
Russia, the European champions in 2007 when Pashutin was assistant to American David Blatt, won only one game and finished bottom of their group, failing to qualify for next year’s World Cup.
“I’d like to thank everyone for the trust, I’m ready to work day and night,” Pashutin told a news conference.
He led Lokomotiv to the Eurocup last season, Europe’s second-tier basketball competition behind the Euroleague.
“Besides tactics and training process, we will have to improve relations with the players and fans,” added the 44-year-old, whose contract runs until the end of the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
“It is a big responsibility and a huge volume of work.”
The 44-year-old Pashutin has also been head coach at Spartak St Petersburg, CSKA Moscow, who he led to the 2010 Final Four in Paris, and UNICS Kazan where he won the Eurocup in 2011 before steering the team to last year’s Euroleague playoffs.
He also led Russia’s Under 20 team to European gold in 2005.
Brooklyn Nets forward Andrei Kirilenko praised the appointment of saying it was the best choice the federation could make.
“For the moment, Pashutin is number one among the Russian coaches,” Kirilenko told local media. “As a head coach, he has already worked with several teams, leading them to good results.”
Writing by Angel Krasimirov; Editing by Tony Goodson