Argentine head coaches remain in vogue on international stage
Raul Lozano is one of a number of respected Argentine head coaches plying their trade on the international stage|
Buenos Aires, January 22, 2009 – The recent hiring of Daniel Castellani as head coach of the Poland Men’s national team has once again highlighted the prevalence of Argentines in high-profile international coaching positions.
The 47-year-old Castellani, who was named coach of the year by Volleyball fans in Poland after leading club team PGE Skra Belchatow to the Polish championship and third place in the CEV Indesit Champions League in 2007-08, took over the highly prized position in Polish Volleyball from another Argentine – Raul Lozano.
The La Plata-born Lozano led an exciting young Polish team to the silver medal at the 2006 FIVB World Championship in Japan and fifth at the 2008 Beijing Games, restoring the glory days to Polish Volleyball not seen since the 1970s.
After coming to the end of his time in Poland, Lozano, who had also previously coached Spain, took over as head coach of the German Men’s team in November 2008.
Argentine Julio Velasco, meanwhile, took over as Spanish Men’s national team coach in December 2008. Velasco, of course, coached the brilliant Italian Men’s team to two FIVB World Championship golds (1990, 1994), one FIVB World Cup gold (1995), one FIVB Grand Champions Cup gold (1993) and five FIVB World League titles before claiming silver at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.
He was elected best head coach at the FIVB World Cups in 1989 (where they won silver) and 1995 and the 1990 World Championship, and was chosen by the FIVB, alongside Doug Beal and Yatsutaka Matsudaira, as best coach of the 20th century.
The success of Velasco with Italy in the 1990s perhaps prompted national teams to cast their eyes towards South America in the hope of unearthing another coach from Argentina with the Midas touch.
Spain's appointment of Velasco, who has also coached the Czech Republic Men, came on the back of a successful period for the Spanish Men under the guidance of another Argentine, Marcelo Mendez.
Mendez had a successful period coaching in the Spanish Superliga before taking over as national team coach, leading C.V. Pórtol to two Superliga championships, a second place league finish, second place in the CEV Final Four and first place in the King’s Cup.
In the recent past, former Argentine player Jon Uriarte – who won the bronze medal at the 1988 Seoul Games – took on the task of heading up the Australian Men’s team in 2001 and led them to the first-ever FIVB World Championship finals in 2002 before taking them to the Olympic Games in 2004 in Athens.
Indeed, the majority of coaches from Argentina who have taken on demanding roles with various national teams have proved to be a success.
Other notable national team coaches from Argentina who have performed admirably in their roles include Carlos Cardona in Puerto Rico and Claudio Cuello in Austria.
Even with a number of Argentine coaches overseas, the coaching situation back in their homeland is in safe hands: The Argentine Men’s team is currently coached by Javier Weber, who represented his country at three Summer Olympics in 1988, 1996 and 2000, and has enjoyed success as a coach at club level.