Bogdan Tanjević

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Bogdan Tanjević
Tanjević coaching Fenerbahçe in Euroleague in November 2007.
Personal information
Born (1947-02-13) February 13, 1947 (age 69)
Pljevlja, PR Montenegro, FPR Yugoslavia
Nationality Yugoslav (defunct) / Italian / Bosnian / Turkish
Career information
NBA draft 1969 / Undrafted
Playing career 1965–1971
Coaching career 1971–2010
Career history
As player:
1965–1971 OKK Beograd
As coach:
1971–1980 Bosna
1982–1986 Juventus Caserta (Indesit / Mobilgirgi)
1986–1994 Trieste (Stefanel)
1994–1996 Olimpia Milano (Stefanel)
1996–1997 Limoges
1997–2000 Italy
2001 Budućnost
2001–2002 ASVEL
2002 Virtus Bologna
2003–2014 Turkey
2007–2010 Fenerbahçe
2015– Montenegro
Career highlights and awards

As head coach:

Bogdan Tanjević (Serbian Cyrillic: Богдан Тањевић; born 13 February 1947), nicknamed "Boša" (Italian: Boscia) is an ex-Yugoslav,[1] naturalized Italian,[2] Bosnian,[1] and Turkish[3] professional basketball coach, who last coached the Turkish national basketball team, between 2004–10, and Fenerbahçe, between 2007-10. Tanjević led KK Bosna when they became European champion by winning the 1978–79 FIBA European Champions Cup. He is currently coach of Montenegro national basketball team.

Early life[edit]

He was born 13 February 1947 in Pljevlja, PR Montenegro, FPR Yugoslavia. In 1951, four-year-old Tanjević was brought to Sarajevo, SR Bosnia due to his Yugoslav People's Army (JNA) officer father Strahinja Tanjević getting reassigned there.[4] Attending Veselin Masleša Primary School young Boša got involved with basketball at the FIS outdoor courts alongside friends such as Uglješa Uzelac and Davorin Popović.

In 1965, after graduating high school, Tanjević moved to Belgrade where he enrolled at the University of Belgrade's Faculty of Philosophy, studying world literature.[4]

Club playing career[edit]

Tanjević began playing basketball at the hometown KK Željezničar Sarajevo.

In parallel with his university studies in Belgrade, young Tanjević played basketball at OKK Beograd on a team alongside established players Radivoj Korać, Trajko Rajković, and Slobodan Gordić.

In summer 1971, he parted ways with OKK Beograd and agreed principal terms with KK Oriolik, a Yugoslav First Basketball League (top-tier) club from Slavonski Brod that just finished its second-ever top-tier season in 11th place (out of twelve) and was putting together a roster for the upcoming top league campaign. Having a whole month before going to Slavonski Brod to sign the necessary paperwork, Tanjević spent time in Sarajevo by frequenting the daily summer practice sessions of KK Bosna, a second-tier club with a batch of young players preparing for its upcoming Second Federal League season. Quite unexpectedly, within weeks, young Tanjević got offered the head coaching position at Bosna by the club's brass who liked the young man's vocal nature and enthusiasm. After months of wrangling during which he had to re-arrange different details of his personal and professional lives, he decided to quit playing basketball at the age of 24 and take the unexpected head coaching offer.

National team[edit]

Despite having a four-year run with the Yugoslav national youth team, having made the final cut for several FIBA Europe youth competitions from 1964 until 1966 under head coach Ranko Žeravica, Tanjević wasn't able to make the next step and earn a spot on the Yugoslav full squad.


Tanjević received his first call up for the Yugoslav junior national team by its head coach Žeravica in 1963 when he was only 16 years old. Tanjević later talked of his surprise to have gotten his debut considering he played for a "provincial lower-league club like KK Željezničar Sarajevo" while commending Žeravica for not favouring players from big established clubs over those from smaller ones.[5]

In spring 1964, 17-year-old Tanjević, still with Željezničar at the time, was selected for the Yugoslav junior team sent to the European Championship for Juniors in Naples in April 1964. As the youngest player on that roster, he had to fight hard for his spot until the very last training game, just edging out Staša Đorđević of Radnički Belgrade for the 12th roster spot.[6] Consisting of youngsters none of whom later made notable careers as basketball players (Ljubiša Janjić, Anton Bračun, Ljubiša Stanković, Srđan Skulić, Miljenko Valcić, Slobodan Jelić, Tihomir Pavlović, Jurica Kosta, Danko Hočevar, Momčilo Pazmanj, and Andrej Brenk), the Yugoslav team lost 3 of the 5 games it played at the championship.[7] Tanjević got very little playing time without scoring a single basket at the competition.

In summer 1966, 19-year-old Tanjević, now an OKK Beograd player, was selected for the Yugoslav junior team sent to the European Championship for Juniors in Porto San Giorgio on the Italian Adriatic coast in late August 1966. Unlike two years earlier, this time Tanjević played on the team alongside players that would go to reach great heights in the game of basketball such as Krešimir Ćosić, Aljoša Žorga, Duci Simonović, Damir Šolman, Kosta Grubor, Dragiša Vučinić, Dragan Kapičić, etc. Yugoslavia made it to the final, but got blown out by Soviet Union by 21 points in the gold medal game.[8] For his part Tanjević appeared in all five games Yugoslavia played at the championship, recording a modest output of 2.4 points per game.[9]

Club coaching career[edit]

KK Bosna[edit]

In 1971, 24-year-old Tanjević got named as head coach of KK Bosna, a club playing in the second-tier Yugoslav Second Federal League.

1971-72: Gaining promotion[edit]

Inheriting a roster of youngsters such as 19-year-old Žarko Varajić, Ante Đogić, Rođeni Krvavac, and 21-year-old center Zdravko Čečur, Tanjević brought in 22-year-old Svetislav Pešić from Partizan Belgrade.[10] Furthermore, the head coach sought to establish authority over players only a couple of years younger than him. To that end he re-hauled the training regiment, instituting practice sessions twice a day while introducing strict discipline.[11]

The new approach produced immediate results as the club managed to gain promotion in Tanjević's first season. The promotion was secured in dramatic fashion in a single-game playoff against city rivals KK Željezničar because the two clubs sat atop the Second League's west division, having split the regular season home-and-away series, so it was decided that a single game (the so-called majstorica) would determine which team gets promoted. Played on 28 April 1972 in front of 7,000 spectators at the Skenderija Hall, only two weeks after the same venue hosted the iconic Yugoslav partisan film Valter brani Sarajevo premiere, the game was a tense affair. KK Bosna, that saw its 25-year-old head coach Tanjević suit up and play 20 minutes after a whole season of not playing competitive basketball, ended up winning 65-59. It was a historic success for KK Bosna that prior to Tanjević's arrival spent 16 seasons stuck in the Second Federal League, unable to overcome the last hurdle before the top-tier First Federal League.

1972-73: Delibašić signs; club's and coach's top-flight debut[edit]

Over the summer of 1972, preparing for its first ever top-flight campaign, the newly promoted club pulled off a remarkable coup by bringing in 18-year-old supreme talent Mirza Delibašić from Sloboda Tuzla, in the process beating out bigger Yugoslav clubs such as KK Partizan for the youngster's signature. The signing was a culmination of the year-long courtship that reached fever pitch during that summer. Knowing Partizan already managed to get KK Sloboda's agreement to release Delibašić, Bosna management intensified their direct approach to the player on two fronts — the president of Bosna sports society Vukašin "Vule" Vukalović made frequent visits to Delibašić's parents cajoling them with financial terms while the team's young coach, only 7 years Delibašić's senior, essentially stalked the player during his training camp for the upcoming European Championship for Juniors in Zadar, eventually befriending and persuading him that Bosna would the best fit for him.[12] Just before the season began, Bosna also brought in Ratko Radovanović, a tall and raw 16-year-old from Nevesinje who didn't even play organized basketball up to that point, but Tanjević liked his size and motor skills believing he can be molded into a good player, a move that would pay dividends a few years later.

Playing their debut season in the country's top-tier competition, Tanjević's young Bosna team finished in 12th spot (out of 14 clubs) with a 10-16 record. Though in the end they avoided relegation comfortably, it wasn't without a fight, at one point recording nine straight league losses, all of which was considered disappointing. With the skilful young players Bosna had on its roster led by the country's biggest and most sought-after young talent Delibašić, many expected the team to be more than just mere relegation battlers. Delibašić, the target of some criticism already, publicly admitted disappointment with the team's overall performance as well as his own in particular while expressing confidence that the team has title material.[13]

1973-74: Achieving a European spot[edit]

The following season, 1973–74, the team made remarkable progress with a 14-12 record that was good enough for the 4th spot (their record was identical with KK Partizan and Radnički Belgrade, but Bosna had a better head-to-head record). It was another historic result because it meant that Bosna would compete in Europe the following season for the first time in its history.

1974-75: A year-long army stint[edit]

In the summer of 1974, Tanjević went away to serve his mandatory army stint,[14] temporarily handing the head coaching position over to Luka Stančić from Valjevo who lead the team for the entire 1974-75 season.

The combination of Tanjević's absence and the pressures of playing in Europe reflected badly on team's domestic league performance as Bosna finished the season in somewhat disappointing 7th place with a 12-14 record. On the other hand in the FIBA Korać Cup they posted a notable success, making the quarterfinals where they got eliminated over two legs by Ranko Žeravica's FC Barcelona — after winning by 8 points at home in front of the 7,000-strong raucous crowd at Skenderija they couldn't hold on to the lead away losing by 14.[15]

1975-76: Return[edit]

With Tanjević's return from the army, the team also returned to form, finishing the league in 3rd spot with an 18-8 record, just behind Partizan and Jugoplastika.

1976-77: Letting the title slip[edit]

Bosna led the league for most of the season. With three games to go until the end of the season, they were top of the table, two games ahead of the second-placed Petar Skansi-coached KK Split (Jugoplastika) that was coming to Sarajevo for their scheduled league game. Bosna won the contest between the same two clubs in Split during first half of the season by 15 points, and the KK Split players were conciliatory ahead of the game in Sarajevo, already pronouncing Bosna new champion. However, in what was somewhat of an upset, KK Split pulled out a win, getting within only one game behind Bosna. Next fixture, second last of the season, saw Bosna go to play KK Zadar away and lose, which combined with Split winning meant a tie at the top.

The league title was thus decided in a single-game playoff at Belgrade's Hala Pionir where despite leading for most of the second half Bosna ended up losing 98-96 courtesy of Damir Šolman's last second buzzer beater — a painful defeat along with a feeling that they let the title slip through their fingers.[16]

1978-79: European champion[edit]

The crown of Tanjević's rich sports career came soon after his return, when KK Bosna under his leadership became European champion by winning the 1978–79 FIBA European Champions Cup.

National team coaching[edit]

Club titles and medals[edit]

National Championships[edit]

National Cups[edit]

International club competitions[edit]


National team competitions[edit]


Tanjević's wife Jasna Selimović used to be involved with basketball in professional capacity as well, playing for KK Voždovac Belgrade and Yugoslavia national team.[17]

He identifies as a Yugoslav, and has said that "I don't have my country anymore, because my country was Yugoslavia [...]".[18] He left Yugoslavia in 1982, though briefly returned to coach KK Budućnost (2000). He is currently living in Turkey, though his family lives in Trieste, Italy.[19]


External links[edit]