Greek basketball fans plunged into mourning on Wednesday, following the death of legendary coach Yiannis Ioannidis at the age of 78.
According to Ekathimerini, the renowned basketball coach and former minister had been suffering from dementia for the last four years.
Born on February 26, 1945, Ioannidis connected his basketball career as an athlete exclusively with Aris, for whom he played from 1959 to 1978.
As a coach, Ioannidis was among the best in Greece, winning a total of 12 championships and six Cups.
His first job as a coach was on the bench of Aris in the 1978-79 season, while the next two years he worked at G.S. Larisa. In 1982, he returned to the Thessaloniki team, staying until 1990. From 1991 to 1996 he was on the bench of Olympiakos, while the following two years he was at AEK. The 1999/00 season saw him return to the “red and whites” – this was his last job at a club.
In the 2003 Eurobasket games in Sweden, he led the Greek national team that reached 5th place.
Ioannidis was also involved in politics, representing Thessaloniki’s First Constituency with New Democracy from 2004 to 2015, and also serving as sports minister under prime ministers Kostas Karamanlis and Antonis Samaras.
Messages of condolences were released by the teams of AEK, Aris, Olympiacos, and Panathinaikos, athletic organisations, Nikos Galis, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, Alternate Sports Minister Giannis Vroutsis, main opposition SYRIZA party leader Stefanos Kasselakis, and others.
The coach is survived by his wife and daughter.