The mastermind behind the success of Anadolu Efes over the past four years is Ergin Ataman, who has long cemented his place in club history. Ataman made history in his first stint with the club when he coached Efes to its maiden Final Four appearance in 2000. Now in his third tenure on the Efes sidelines, he has done what no other Turkish-born coach has ever come close to by making three consecutive Final Four appearances, culminating with the raising of the 2021 Turkish Airlines EuroLeague crown.
Final Four head coach: Ergin Ataman, Efes
What started as a basketball feel-good story in the 2018-19 season, when Ataman guided Efes to its first EuroLeague Championship Game appearance just one year after the club finished the regular season in last place, turned out to be the start of something special. That was not only the biggest turnaround in EuroLeague history, but also the beginning of Efes's offensive dominance behind Ataman's vision and deep belief in his system, and his core of hand-picked players.
Sticking to a fast-paced style with swift ball movement and trusting that it can outscore score any opponent, only one team has more wins than the 96 that Efes has registered under Ataman over the last four seasons. The 2021 EuroLeague crown with Efes was the cherry on top for Ataman and his fourth different continental title. He won the Saporta Cup with Montepaschi Siena in 2002, the EuroChallenge with Besiktas Istanbul in 2012 and the 7DAYS EuroCup with Galatasaray Istanbul in 2015, a feat only two other coaches have accomplished in European basketball history.
Now, Ataman aims to repeat as EuroLeague champion, something no coach has done in 17 years and just two have accomplished in the Final Four era dating to 1988. No matter the outcome, however, Ataman has already cemented his status among the crème de la crème of European coaching.