|FIBA Europe Secretary General Nar Zanolin, FECC Mentor Svetislav Pesic and FIBA Europe President Olafur Rafnsson at the FECC graduation ceremony|
None of the 52 participants in the second group of the FIBA Europe Coaching Certificate (FECC) is an adolescent anymore, but they all went through that special ‘school is out' experience once again on Sunday afternoon.
It was their day, a moment they have been working for since 2009. It was graduation day.
The atmosphere in the packed conference room in Bilbao, Spain was reminiscent of a graduation day at any academic establishment around the world and one would be able to distinguish the soon-to-be graduates at a glance, even if they were not uniformly dressed in the light blue FECC t-shirts.
They all had this unmistakable mix of hope, satisfaction, joy and yet separation sadness on their faces.
They had just accomplished an important goal, they were pondering the prospects that lay in front after this point in their lives but, at the same time, they were bidding farewell to a group of people they now had a special bond with.
FIBA Europe Coaching Coordinator Michael Schwarz, the heart and soul of the FECC programme, opened the proceedings to introduce the two high-profile guests that had kept their promise to be there on that special day.
FIBA Europe President Olafur Rafnsson and FIBA Europe Secretary General Nar Zanolin were there to congratulate the graduates and present them with their diplomas and could not help but noticing the room was buzzing with excitement.
"I want to welcome you all into the FIBA Europe family; from this moment onwards, you are a part of us," Mr Zanolin said.
|When coach Pesic speaks, everyone, from the FECC graduates to coach Pablo Laso, the Secretary General and the President, pays close attention|
"I wish you the best in your careers but I'm also asking you to share this knowledge you have accumulated, pass it on to your colleagues and players in your countries and contribute to the development of basketball," the Secretary General urged the graduates.
FECC mentor Svetislav Pesic joined in the festive atmosphere but also had a last word of advice for his young colleagues: "Do not forget that the work of a coach never stops, you have to dedicate yourself to it 24 hours a day.
"You think about and plan every detail before practice, and then you analyse every detail, everything you players and even you did after practice. That's the only way to be prepared for the game."
The highly-decorated Pesic reminded graduates of the value of what they had achieved
"In my 45 years in basketball, 15 as a player and 30 as a coach, I have never come across anything like the FECC. It is a unique programme and you're both lucky and capable for having completed it."
The FECC third group will commence the program on 31st July in the Czech Republic, to coincide with the U16 European Championship.