|18 January 2013|
|Zvezdan Mitrovic knows Khimik Yuzhne well, as he coached the team from 2002 to 2007 (Copyright: Khimik Yuzhne)|
Khimik Yuzhne decided the time had come to part ways with their head coach Zoran Martic after their 93-90 loss at Tofas Bursa, in the EuroChallenge Last 16 on Tuesday.
It was not an easy decision, because it meant a second divorce between the two parties.
Martic first took over the head coach job at Khimik in November 2010 and left at the end of that season, to join Hungarian club Körmend.
He returned to the Ukrainian side last June, with the club citing his character, ability to build a long-time project and prior knowledge of the domestic league as the main reasons for the choice.
So when Khimik started looking for his replacement on Wednesday, they examined candidates that met all those criteria.
If they've had a long relationship and a proven track record with the club itself, that would be ideal.
Step forward, Zvezdan Mitrovic.
The Montenegrin coach had a five-year spell at Khimik, from 2002 to 2007, which was in many ways the most successful period of the club.
During his tenure, Khimik earned a third-place finish in the very competitive domestic Superleague on two occasions, while Mitrovic himself was named Coach of the Year in Ukraine in 2004.
He had joined the Ukrainian side from Buducnost in his native Montenegro, where he'd served as assistant coach for a number of years.
"I'm glad to be back in the team where I started my career as a head coach," Mitrovic said during his official presentation in Yuzhne on Thursday.
"Today I met with the players and tomorrow (Friday night) we have the game against BC DniproAzot with very little time to prepare.
"Naturally, it is not possible to change something dramatically in such a short time."
Mitrovic stayed in Ukraine and worked at Budivelnyk last season, leading the traditional side to a second-place finish in the Superleague.
"I know well many of the players on the current roster, some I have trained in the past, some I know as opponents previously," he said.
"You could say we will find the problems and strengths of our team during games, and not during practice, because we have to play three games in the next five days."
Following their home game with BC DniproAzot on Friday night, Khimik take on the other Dnipropetrovsk club, Dnipro, on Sunday.
They will then try to register a first win in the EuroChallenge Last 16 on Tuesday, when they play host to Krasnye Krylia in Group K action.
The Yuzhne club are currently sitting in sixth place in the domestic Superleague, with a 13-11 record.