Austrian Coaches Enter The Big Stage

31 March 2011
Tibor Pleiß - Brose Baskets Bamberg
Tibor Pleiß and the Brose Baskets Bamberg are firing on all cylinders with the help of Austrian assistant coach Stefan Weißenböck

Brose Baskets Bamberg are the hottest team in Germany right now.

The reigning German champions are leading the league with 27 wins and only two losses, way ahead of the competition of Frankfurt or Berlin.

In a game between the two best teams of recent years, Bamberg met Alba in Berlin on Saturday and put up yet another demonstration of power.

With Berlin desperately wanting revenge for a 102-53 demolition in their first meeting in December, the stage was set for a great evening of basketball.

In front of a sellout crowd of 14,500 in the O2 World in Berlin, Bamberg prevailed 97-93, underlining their status as the team to beat this year.

One participant on the Bamberg bench was Stefan Weißenböck, the Assistant coach of Chris Fleming and FECC graduate.

The 37-year old Austrian was one of the standout performers in the FIBA Europe Coaching Certificate (FECC) class of 2009, where he finished as 5th best and only missed out on the opportunity to coach a team at the Champion U18 All Star Game by a tiny bit.

While he might still be a little frustrated by that, it does not keep him from giving his all for his current team.

"He does an outstanding job for us." confirmed Bamberg Head Coach Chris Fleming when asked about his colleague, who has been working in the Franken First project in Bamberg and Nürnberg for several years.

While Weißenböck might currently be the most successful Austrian FECC participant, he is not the only one to raise some eyebrows.

His classmate and fellow Austrian Marlies Kiefer is currently coaching in Cardiff, Wales and was a team manager with the Great Britain U20 Women side that won promotion to Division A in 2010.

Franz Zderadicka, the third graduate from this class was appointed to coach the U20 Women national team this summer.

If nothing else, those three helped to make the FECC programme really popular in Austria.

The Austrian Federation that nominates the coaches for the one guaranteed spot every federation has in the FECC, plus possible wildcards, had to react and set up an application process that is probably unparalleled in Europe.

In order to take part in the FECC class 2011-2013, candidates had to file a written application, including a motivation letter and a CV.

The Austrian "Sportfachrat", a committee representing the Austrian Federation and first division coaches reviewed all the filed applications.

After narrowing down the selection to four coaches, the committee sent out questionnaires, preparing the candidates for personal interviews with members of the "Sportfachrat".

Those interviews were evaluated and finally each member of the committee ranked the applicants which led to a final result that is supposed to send the best possible candidate to participate in the FECC in 2011 and the next two years.

"We really think that the FECC is a great education in coaching and that our ambitious coaches can immensely profit from it." Commented Robert Langer, the Sportsdirector of the Austrian Federation and member of the "Sportfachrat".

"This is why we wanted to make absolutely sure we are sending the right coaches."

Bernd Wimmer
Bernd Wimmer is in the process of building up a basketball scene in the city of Salzburg

The three nominees that will take the one guaranteed spot and, hopefully for Austria, up to two wild card spots in the 60-participants field are Bernd Wimmer, Andreas Kaineder and Stefan Reisinger.

Wimmer, a former first division player, won over the jury with his experience and relentless approach of putting basketball on the map in Austria.

Langer had only good things to say about Wimmer, who he sees as a potential youth national team coach.

"Bernd Wimmer was our top candidate. He played in the first division for 11 years and more than once proved his leadership as a captain of his teams in Gmunden and Wels.

"Already then he was coaching youth teams within the clubs and just now he is developing a Basketball programme in the city of Salzburg which has already seen some kids make the youth national teams."

Andreas Kaineder, who finished second behind Wimmer is part of the currently most successful male youth programme of the country in Vienna and will be hoping for a wildcard to enter the FECC field.

The same goes for Stefan Reisinger, a sports teacher and coach who is, like the other two, very much committed in the development of young talent.

It remains to be seen whether one of the three will also be on the books of a European club anytime soon, but the seriousness that things are approached with in Austria certainly set a standard in Europe.



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