|28 September 2011|
Basketball In Europe
by Jeff Taylor
|In a long and storied career, Fedon Mattheou could celebrate many successes with several teams on club and national team level|
Greek basketball lost one of its most charismatic figures of the last 60 years when Fedon Mattheou died on September 17.
He was 87.
Mattheou played basketball for his country but was not just a one-sport athlete.
He was also an Olympic rower.
Mattheou showed up at the Henley Royal Regatta Course, Henley-on-Thames, and rowed for Greece in the single sculls of the 1948 London Olympics.
He also competed in national championships in track and field, table tennis, tennis and volleyball.
Basketball, however, is where he really stood out.
Mattheou played for Greece and won a bronze medal at the 1949 European Championship in Cairo, Egypt.
He led the Greeks with an average of nine points per game.
In 1952, he set out to compete again at the Olympics but this time not as a rower but a basketball player.
He and Greece competed in the Qualifying Round in Helsinki, and while he averaged more than 12 points per contest, the Greeks didn't advance.
While Greece were not among the 16 teams to play in the tournament, by virtue of going through qualifying, they ended up as one of seven teams with an Olympic ranking between 17 and 23.
Mattheou ended up playing 44 games for the basketball national team and scored 539 points.
As a basketball coach, he was a colorful character.
In 1960, Mattheou served as the national team coach.
Among his most successful seasons were 1976 and 1984.
In '76, Mattheou was at the helm of Olympiacos and the team went unbeaten and captured both the title and the Greek Cup.
He guided PAOK to Greek Cup glory in 1984.
Both Olympiacos and PAOK paid glowing tributes to Mattheou following his death.
The former said in a statement on their website: "You're always in our hearts and your legacy will always guide the team. Bon voyage ..."
PAOK also said on their website: "PAOK express their deepest sorrow at the death of teacher Fedon Mattheou, who was one of the most genuine people in Greek basketball. Not only did he make a huge contribution to PAOK, but throughout Greek basketball. He was established as an eternal symbol and as a reference point that will occupy a particular piece of the history of Greek basketball, and in our hearts."