Euroleague Basketball expresses its condolences to the Real Madrid family upon learning of the death of Pedro Ferrandiz, one of the most decorated coaches in basketball history, who passed away on Thursday.
"Pedro Ferrandiz was a true pioneer of basketball in Europe and one of the greatest coaches ever, not to mention a historian of our game," Euroleague Basketball CEO Jordi Bertomeu said. "We are all indebted to him for his example of class, professionalism and excellence on and off the court. Our condolences go out to his family and Real Madrid. May he rest in peace."
Ferrandiz rode atop Real Madrid's first golden age. Ferrandiz coached only 14 seasons total, all but one at Real Madrid, yet remains among the most successful coaches ever in world basketball.
He led Real to 12 Spanish League and 11 Spanish Cup trophies. Above all, he coached the team to four EuroLeague titles, in 1965, 1966, 1967 and 1974. In three of those seasons, his teams went undefeated. Ferrandiz had previously coached in Real Madrid's youth program and at one other club, CB Hesperia, in the 1950s.
A member of both the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and the FIBA Hall of Fame, Ferrandiz received dozens of awards, highlighted by the Grand Cross Royal Order of Sports Merit, the most significant sports award in Spain. In 2008, Euroleague Basketball also chose him as one of the 50 most influential contributors to European basketball history.
Not only was he always successful, but Ferrandiz even managed to change basketball's rules. On January 18, 1962, Varese faced Real in a EuroLeague game. With the game tied at 80-80 and most of Real stars fouled out, Ferrandiz told Lorenzo Alocen to score at the basket Real was defending in order to avoid overtime. It was a two-game series, and in the next game, Real easily overcame that two-point loss at home to win the series. FIBA quickly banned scoring intentionally in one's own basket due to that play, but Ferrandiz had been smarter than anyone else. A basketball foundation was created in his honor in 1991 to preserve and promote basketball, publishing books and, at the time, hosting the biggest basketball library in the world.
Ferrandiz was also a successful general manager, as his contacts and basketball knowledge allowed him to sign players like Wayne Hightower, Bob Burgess, Clifford Luyk, Wayne Brabender and Walter Szczerbiak, some of the best players in Real's legendary history. Ferrandiz deserves full credit for Real's trademark run-and-gun basketball style.
Ferrandiz changed Spanish basketball forever and allowed Real to become a European powerhouse. Ferrandiz was 93 at the time of his passing.