BC Avtodor Saratov
|Leagues||VTB United League
Basketball Champions League
|Arena||Sports Palace Kristall|
|Team colors||Black and White
|Head coach||Andrea Mazzon|
|Championships||2 Russian Super League
Establishment and growth (1960–1992)
Founded in 1960 as Spartak Saratov, the club took off when former player Vladimir Rodionov became its head coach in the 1982. The club was later renamed into Avtodorozhnik (road engineer) - shortened to Avtodor in 1996 - in reference to a late benefactor.
Scaling the heights (1992–2004)
Joining the Russian League at its creation in 1992, the club competed with CSKA Moscow (being the first club to defeat them in the league) for national supremacy during the rest of the decade, finishing in second place four times between 1994 and 1999. It would even win the regular season in both 1997 and 1998, but lost both finals series against CSKA 2-3, and 1-3 respectively.
The Russian outfit regularly took part in European competitions during that period, reaching the semifinals of the 1998 second-tier EuroCup and playing in the 1999 top-tier Euroleague (exiting at the first group stage). Avtodor defeated CSKA in the 2001-02 playoff quarterfinals, the only team to have prevented the Army men from reaching the top four in Russian basketball history to this day.
Demise and rebuilding (2004–2014)
After threatening to do so for years because of disputes with the local administration, especially regarding the lack of a convenient arena, Rodionov moved the organisation to Saint Petersburg during the 2004 summer. He would form Dynamo Saint Petersburg, transferring some of Avtodor's best players such as Vladimir Veremeenko, and its place in the Super League. Meanwhile, a cash-strapped Avtodor voluntarily relegated itself to the second division for 2004-05, fielding an uncompetitive side made of youngsters, before moving down to the third division in 2005. Avtodor would win the second division in 2009 but did not have the financial means to return to the Super League. It did return to the Super League in 2012 but by that time the league had become the domestic second division. Winning that league in 2014, in large part thanks to the play of league MVP Courtney Fortson and promising youngster Artem Klimenko, the club received an invitation to play in the top-tier VTB United League and the European third-tier EuroChallenge for 2014-15. The club was able to fund its participation thanks to increased support from the local administration, who reduced the funding of the city's ice hockey club Kristall Saratov to compensate.
Back at the top (2014–present)
After losing seven of its first nine VTB League games, Avtodor regrouped with the help of November acquisition Kyrylo Fesenko and the play of December league MVP Fortson (who had no problem adapting to the league) to contend for a playoffs place. Despite three coaching changes, with Vladimir Antsiferov replaced by his assistant Sergey Mokin in late October before Rodionov fired Mokin and took the coaching reins himself on 3 March 2015, the club reached the EuroChallenge quarterfinals where they lost to Trabzonspor. In the league, Avtodor beat major sides CSKA Moscow, Khimki Moscow Region, Lokomotiv Kuban Krasnodar and Unics Kazan to reach the playoffs, though they lost three contested games against Khimki to exit at the quarterfinal stage.
Avtodor formerly played in the Yunost arena, seating only a few hundred and unable to accommodate television broadcasts, which meant the side had to play its European games in Moscow. During the 1997-98 season, the club played its regular-season games in the Yunost arena before moving for its playoffs games to an indoor-football arena whilst a new arena was being refurbished. It moved to the newly reopened 1,500 seater Zvezdny Sports Palace in May of that year, though this arena also proved too small as 2,000 fans packed the venue during a 21 May 1998 game against CSKA (albeit the league title decisive game), with some hanging from the balcony.
Calls for the club to move in the larger Kristall Arena (an ice hockey arena built in 1969), were finally heeded in 2014. Avtodor remodeled the arena for basketball play, which also raised the capacity from 5,450 to 6,100 seats, playing their first game there on November 11.
- Russian First Division
- Runners-up (4): 1994, 1997, 1998, 1999
- Regular season champions (2): 1997, 1998
- Russian Second Division
- Champions (2): 2009, 2014
Season by season
|Season||Domestic competitions||Russian Cup||European competitions|
|1993–94||1||Super League||?||Runner-up||Not held||
|1994–95||1||Super League||4||Semifinals||Not held||
|1995–96||1||Super League||3||Semifinals||Not held||
|1996–97||1||Super League||1||Runner-up||Not held||
|1997–98||1||Super League||1||Runner-up||Not held||
|1998–99||1||Super League||2||Runner-up||Not held||
|2000–01||1||Super League||5||Semifinals||Not held||
|2001–02||1||Super League||5||Semifinals||Not held||
|2003–04||1||Super League||10||Not qualified||Round of 16||
|2004–05||2||Super League||10||None played||DNP||–|
|2005–06||3||Higher League||8[a]||Not qualified||DNP||–|
|2006–07||3||Higher League||8[a]||Not qualified||Group stage||–|
|2007–08||3||Higher League||8[a]||8th[a]||Group stage||–|
|2010–11||3||Higher League||3[a]||9th||Group stage||–|
|2011–12||3||Higher League||1[a]||5th||Round of 16||–|
|2012–13||2||Super League||5||Semifinalist||Round of 16||–|
|2016–17||1||VTB||10||Round of 64||–|
Note: Flags indicate national team eligibility at FIBA sanctioned events. Players may hold other non-FIBA nationality not displayed.
|Avtodor Saratov roster|
- Position in group as league divided in groups
- Avtodor sent its B squad
- Map of the league - Avtodor Saratov. VTB United League. 18 February 2015. Event occurs at 2:40. Retrieved 25 August 2015.
The man who ran the Avtodor company died in the 1990's. He was an amazing man. He'd won medals: was very distinguished. We became friends in the end and when he died we named the club in his honor. We took the word "Avtodorozhnik" [road engineer] and shortened it to Avtodor
- "Astana meets Avtodor". BCAstana.kz. 14 November 2014. Retrieved 25 August 2015.
- "Club profile: Avtodor Saratov". EurocupBasketball.com. 25 August 2015. Retrieved 25 August 2015.
- Fyodorov, Gennady (11 April 1998). "Avtodor beats CSKA 98-87, grabs regular-season title". TheMoscowTimes.com. Retrieved 25 August 2015.
- Fyodorov, Gennady (8 May 1998). "Russian League final set despite arena problems". TheMoscowTimes.com. Retrieved 25 August 2015.
- Fyodorov, Gennady (21 May 1998). "CSKA takes crown with road win". TheMoscowTimes.com. Retrieved 25 August 2015.
- "Avtodor Saratov - team history". FIBAEurope.com. Retrieved 26 August 2015.
- "Vladimir Rodionov: Avtodor is going to be the League's fastest team". VTB-League.com. 19 September 2014. Retrieved 25 August 2015.
- "Game of the Week. Khimki takes on Saratov; Monia returns home". VTB-League.com. 31 January 2015. Retrieved 25 August 2015.
- "Russia starts cup drive with 116-73 stunner". TheMoscowTimes.com. 28 November 1997. Retrieved 25 August 2015.
- Kazankov, Andrei (26 January 2009). "Vladimir Veremeenko, Unics Kazan". EurocupBasketball.com. Retrieved 25 August 2015.
- Snastin, Kiril (12 October 2004). "Саратов остался без большого баскетбола" Русский [Saratov left without elite basketball]. Kommersant.ru (in Russian). Retrieved 25 August 2015.
- Anfinogentov, Andrey; Bezjazychny, Aleksey; Rustamov, Timur (7 December 2014). "Автодор уже обещает Бой ЦСКА" Русский [Avtodor already takes aim at CSKA]. Sport-Express.ru (in Russian). Retrieved 25 August 2015.
- "Avtodor's bumpy season finds reward". FIBAEurope.com. 9 April 2015. Retrieved 25 August 2015.
- "Quarterfinals. Recap". VTB-League.com. 12 May 2015. Retrieved 25 August 2015.
- Fyodorov, Gennady (25 April 1997). "Avtodor downs CSKA 109-107 for 1-0 lead". TheMoscowTimes.com. Retrieved 25 August 2015.
- "CSKA heads to Saratov leading 2-1". TheMoscowTimes.com. 16 May 1998. Retrieved 25 August 2015.
- "Week 6. Recap". VTB-League.com. 11 November 2014. Retrieved 25 August 2015.