Tomáš Bank voted Best Coach of 2018, basketball coach Ronen Ginzburg wins team sports category

Tomáš Bank was Ester Ledecká's coach for 25 months when she won Olympic gold medal. He was elected Best Coach of 2018 for this achievement. The coaching academy of the Czech Olympic Committee elected Israeli coach Ronen Ginzburg the best coach in team sports category. Ginzburg was in charge of the men's basketball national team that qualified to the World Championships. 13 personalities were ushered to the Hall of Fame during the UNIQA Best Coach of the Year gala evening. Ice-hockey player Tomáš Plekanec presented the Prize for the Coach – Talent Spotter to Miroslav Mach who was his coach in the boys' team.

“I really appreciate this prize, but I still feel that I am a kind of by-product of Ester, because if she wasn´t performing so greatly, I would not be the best coach. It is also the work of all our team. I would like to thank them now,” Tomáš Bank commented his victory. Ronen Ginzburg won the prize in team sports category. He is credited with the greatest successes of men's basketball national team since the split of Czechoslovakia. In 2015 his team finished seventh at European Championships and in 2018 they qualified to the World Championships after thirty-seven years.

While Patrik Eliáš presented the prize for the Coach – Talent Spotter to Pavel Bakus last year, Tomáš Plekanec had a chance to thank his first coach Miroslav Mach this time. “I was lucky that I had the same coach in both boys'categories, and it was Miroslav Mach. We have learned a lot from him and he taught us to love ice-hockey. I would wish to every child who decides to start with a sport to have such a great coach at the beginning.”

Thirteen sport personalities were usherred to the Hall of Fame where they joined almost sixty coaches from the past who helped Czech athletes to achieve great successes. During UNIQA Coach of the Year 2018 gala evening the following coaches entered the Hall of Fame (in alphabet order): Emil Brzoska (weight lifting), Stanislav Frühauf (cross-country sking), Milan Janoušek (biathlon), Jan Karger (basketball), Josef Pešice (football – in memoriam), Luboš Hilgert (canoe slalom), Václav Drbohlav (yachting – in memoriam), Petr Přikryl (swimming), Ludvík Vyhnanovský (table tennis – in memoriam), Jindřich Kozubek (trampolining), Miroslav Nekola (volleyball), Jaroslav Holík (ice-hockey – in memoriam), Miroslav Pospíšil (basketball).

The coach of the year is elected by Professional Coaching Union that is a part of the Czech Coaches'Academy, a body of the Czech Olympic Committee. The members are 140 specialists from almost 40 different sport associations. “I am glad that the Czech Olympic Committee (ČOV) increased the declining prestige of the coaching profession six years ago. This award-giving ceremony is unique because only coaches vote in it,” Vice President of ČOV Zdeněk Haník explains.

The insurance company UNIQA that has been supporting sport for a long time is the partner of the award ceremony. UNIQA supports for example water slalom and its top racers or volleyball. “As a long-term partner of Czech sport, we are fully aware of the importance of coaches and how much they may influence the performances of their athletes. We appreciate their everyday, long lasting and very often invisible work that pays off only in one crucial minute or one decisive match. That is why we were happy to become partners of Coach of the Year gala evening for the third time. This evening belongs to those who really deserve our respect and appreciation,” Martin Žáček, General Manager of UNIQA insurance company said.

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The other nominees for the individual prize were also Jiří Pultera (canoe slalom), Jakub Kozelský (yachting), Ondřej Rybář (biathlon), Petra Škábová (swimming), Josef Plachý (table tennis), Simon Nausch (volleyball), Tomáš Binter (sport climbing), Petr Novák (speed skating), Petr Pála (tennis) and for team sport category: Milan Maršner (hockeyball), Jaroslav Šilhavý (football), Josef Jandač (ice-hockey) and Tomáš Kusý (softball).