Basketball In Europe
|Lotos Gdynia President Mieczyslaw Krawczyk presents Javier Fort (left) to the Polish media|
Lotos Gdynia have appointed Javier Fort as their new coach.
The Polish club announced on Tuesday they had signed the Spaniard on a two-year contract, thus ending his four-year tenure as the boss of Rivas Ecopolis in Spain.
Gdynia, the Polish Cup winners this season, have a rich tradition in Europe and domestically and Fort, who made quite a name for himself at Rivas the past couple of seasons in the club's first two EuroLeague Women campaigns, is excited to have a new challenge.
"I believe that Lotos Gdynia is a club with great traditions and rich history, and for every coach, it is essential to be successful not only in his own country but also in others," Fort said.
"I spent my entire coaching career at Rivas, which is 11 years. I think this is a good time for a change."
He takes over from George Dikeoulakos, who left at the end of the season and was earlier on Tuesday confirmed as the new coach of Fenerbahce.
"The board of the club made a decision of hiring Javier, because of his basketball philosophy," Lotos Gdynia president Mieczyslaw Krawczyk said.
"He believes in hard teamwork and developing young players who can greatly contribute to the game."
Fort steered Rivas to a first-place finish in their EuroLeague Women Qualifying Round group in the 2009-10 campaign and this season led them to their first major trophy, the Copa de la Reina (Spanish Cup).
They had to beat Halcon Avenida in the semi-finals and then hosts Ros Casares in the final to lift the Copa.
Fort then led Rivas into the EuroLeague Women play-offs for the second year in a row.
He has given some insight into what his emphasis will be in an interview on the Lotos Gdynia website.
"For me, the most important thing is defense," he said.
"After a good defense, counter-attacks can follow and it is easy to score points."
Fort was also an attractive coach for Lotos Gdynia because of his willingness to work hard and expect to win, even when the team's financial might doesn't compare to what many of the opponents like Wisla will possess.
"Although the budget of the club may differ from the budgets of other teams, the money is not really playing," Fort said.
"The basketball game is a 5x5 and it's there on the court during games when everything happens.
"And do not forget that in sports, anything is possible."
The arrival of Fort means that Poland has Spanish coaches at the helm of two of its most prominent clubs.
Jose Ignacio Hernandez, also the coach of Spain's women's team, just led Wisla Can-Pack Krakow to the domestic title in Poland.
Gdynia is a beautiful city on the Baltic coast but the temperature is going to be considerably lower and there is going to be more snow than in Madrid.
"I know very well that the weather here is quite different," Fort said.
"At the end of the EuroLeague game that was here in January, there was a lot of snow.
"But the atmosphere that prevails in Gdynia makes it, in fact, a lot warmer, and certainly, it will not affect my work."