Petar Skansi

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Petar Skansi
Petar Skansi.jpg
Skansi with Yugoslavia at the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City.
Personal information
Born (1943-11-23) 23 November 1943 (age 72)
Sumartin, SR Croatia,
SFR Yugoslavia
Nationality Croatian
Listed height 2.06 m (6 ft 9 in)
Listed weight 104 kg (229 lb)
Career information
Playing career 1964–1976
Position Center
Coaching career 1976–2004
Career history
As player:
1964–1972 KK Split (Jugoplastika)
1972–1973 Victoria Libertas Pesaro (Maxmobili)
1973–1976 KK Split (Jugoplastika)
As coach:
1976–1977 KK Split (Jugoplastika)
1981–1983 Victoria Libertas Pesaro (Scavolini)
1984–1985 Fabriano (Honky)
1987–1988 Reyer Venezia (Hitachi)
1988–1989 Virtus Roma (Phonola)
1990–1993 Treviso (Benetton)
1997–1999 Fortitudo Bologna (Teamsystem)
1999–2000 PAOK
2003 KK Split (Croatia Osiguranje)
2003–2004 Krka

Petar Skansi (born 23 November 1943) is a Yugoslavian and Croatian former basketball player and basketball coach. During his playing career, he played for Jugoplastika Split and Scavolini Pesaro. He was named one of FIBA's 50 Greatest Players in 1991.

He was a member of the Yugoslav national basketball team squad that won the silver medal at the 1968 Summer Olympics.

He also had a political stint as a deputy minister of sports in Croatia.

Early life[edit]

Born in the Sumartin village on the island of Brač to navy captain father Petar and teacher mother Marija, Skansi graduated from the Split streamlined maritime high school in 1961. Simultaneously, he took up water polo, playing it in the Jadran Split youth system.[1]

Club coaching career[edit]

After retiring from playing in 1976 Skansi began coaching at Jugoplastika.


In summer 1981, having spent the previous four years coaching in various capacities within the Yugoslav national team system, Skansi returned to club coaching by accepting the offer from Victoria Libertas (Scavolini), an ambitious and financially stable club from Pesaro backed by entrepreneur Valter Scavolini who also performed the club president role. Having taken over in 1975 and invested heavily since, the club's financial backer who made his wealth manufacturing and selling kitchen appliances was looking for elusive domestic league success. Giving further indication of Scavolini's ambitions in summer 1981 was the simultaneous acquisition of 28-year-old European superstar Dragan Kićanović from KK Partizan whom Skansi knew well from coaching him in the Yugoslav national team. Players Skansi inherited included talented young power forward Walter Magnifico, shooting guard / small forward Mike Sylvester, and mainstay forward Giuseppe Ponzoni.

Skansi's 1981 head coaching appointment at Scavolini, by his own admission, owed a lot to Aleksandar Nikolić's coaching success in Italy throughout the 1970s that opened doors in Italian league to other Yugoslav coaches such as Skansi and Bogdan Tanjević.[2]

1981-82: runners-up in Italy[edit]

Playing in a fourteen-club Italian league, Skansi's Scavolini finished the regular season in top spot with a 25-7 record thus getting home court advantage throughout the playoffs. It also ensured a bye in the initial, round-of-sixteen, playoff stage, which meant starting from the quarter-final stage where they swept Fabriano 2-0 in a best-of-three series. The following round, semifinals, brought Virtus Bologna, a much tougher test, and the series went to the deciding game three where Scavolini eked out a hard-fought 88-87 win on home court in Pesaro. In the final they faced Dan Peterson's Olimpia Milano, losing the home court advantage right away by dropping the opening game 86-89 on home court; Olimpia won game two in Milan 73-72 to take the title.

1982-83: winning Saporta Cup, falling short in Italian League again[edit]

Ahead of the 1982-83 season, on Skansi's insistence, Scavolini management signed 28-year-old center Željko Jerkov, another compatriot Skansi knew well from the Yugoslav national team as well from Jugoplastika. With a formidable looking starting five of Kićanović, Sylvester, Ponzoni, Magnifico, and Jerkov, as well as the previous season's experience, the goal of winning the league was now even more of an objective than before.

The Italian league expanded to 16 teams and Scavolini finished the regular season with a 21-9 record, placing third on the table. They simultaneously competed in the 1982–83 FIBA European Cup Winner's Cup, winning it in March 1983 in Palma de Mallorca versus ASVEL. The league playoffs began versus the sixth seed Auxilium Torino at the quarterfinal stage with Scavolini progressing fairly comfortably 2-1, winning both home games dominantly. The semifinals brought their nemesis Billy Milano, which also had the home court advantage this time due to finishing the regular season in second spot. Olimpia won its opening home game by a big margin, before Scavolini responded with a large win of their own in Pesaro. The deciding game in Milan was never in doubt as Olimpia routed Scavolini by a 14-point margin — a major disappointment for the Pesaro team.

As a direct consequence of falling short in the league, both big name foreign signings, Kićanović and Jerkov, were not retained, while head coach Skansi initially survived, but got fired only one game into the 1983-84 league season.


Skansi's best achievement in club sports was winning the 1992 Italian Championship with Pallacanestro Treviso.

For his achievements he was awarded the Franjo Bučar State Award for Sport twice, in 1992 and 2003.

National team coaching[edit]


In 1977, having coached Jugoplastika for a season and a half, 33-year-old Skansi got picked by Aleksandar Nikolić to be the respected coach's assistant for Eurobasket 1977. With its famous five of Slavnić, Kićanović, Delibašić, Dalipagić, and Ćosić, Yugoslavia won gold in dominant fashion. Next summer, Skansi continued in his assistant role under Nikolić for the 1978 World Championships as Yugoslavia won gold again with the same team — its second world title in eight years.

Right after winning, Nikolić stepped down and his assistant Skansi got the head coaching job ahead of the Eurobasket in Italy. Yugoslavia didn't manage to get into the final game after losing their final group match versus Miki Berkovich-led Israel 77-76. However, the team recovered to win its third-place match versus Czechoslovakia, which was a bit of a reprieve though the tournament was still seen as disappointment after years of winning, including three consecutive Eurobasket titles.


After Croatia's independence in 1991 Skansi became the Croatia national basketball team head coach, winning silver medal with Croatia at the 1992 Summer Olympics.

Political career[edit]

From January 2012 until June 2014 Skansi was Deputy Minister of Science, Education and Sports to Željko Jovanović in the centre-left government of Zoran Milanović.


Skansi is married to Damira with whom he has a daughter Jana.[3]

Since 1984, Skansi's primary residence has been in Slovenia where he started a real estate maintenance business.[1]


  1. ^ a b "Petar Skansi: biografija". Večernji list. Retrieved 1 February 2015. 
  2. ^ Avdić, Edin (27 January 2015). "U obruču: Petar Skansi". Arena Sport. Retrieved 1 February 2015. 
  3. ^ Grbelja, J. (December 1971). "Djevojke misle da je ženama sportaša lako". Start. Retrieved 2 February 2015. 

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