OSNABRUCK - FIBA was sad to hear of the passing of Miloslav Kriz last weekend (19-20 May). He was 88 years old.
Mr Kriz was a coaching legend who had had a prestigious career which included being honoured with the FIBA Order of Merit.
He will be mourned throughout the basketball world and in particular in his homeland and in Germany, where he spent much of his time.
Kriz played for Czechoslovakia but was best known for his coaching accomplishments.
After playing elite basketball for Uncas Prague and then for BC Sparta Prague, he made the move into coaching in 1946, when taking the reins of the Sparta women's team, while still playing for the men's team.
He initially coached the club's women's team for five years and later returned for a second spell which lasted over a decade, collecting five Czechoslovakian championship titles along the way.
Kriz was also handed the role of coach of the Czech national women's team for two separate spells and, not surprisingly, led his nation to the podium on several occasions: they claimed a bronze medal at the FIBA World Championship for Women in 1967 and took silver at the European Championship in 1962 and 1966.
It was in Germany that Kriz then found success in the men's game, coaching VfL Osnabruck to the Bundesliga title in what was only his second season at the helm.
A familiar patter followed as he was subsequently invited to oversee the senior national team - only this time, it was Germany's men.
He guided them at the qualifying tournament for the 1969 European Championship, helped with preparations in 1970 in Munich for the Olympic Games and coached the team at the 1971 European Championship in Essen.
After opting to head back to Czechoslovakia, he served as President of the Czech Basketball Association from 1973 to 1986, as well as Vice-President of the Czechoslovak Basketball Federation. Despite his busy schedule, he also found time to practice law.
German Basketball Federation (DBB) President Ingo Weiss paid tribute to Kriz.
"With Miroslav Kriz, we have lost an important campaigner for German and international basketball," he said.
"I will personally miss the many good talks with him and his important and smart impulse for the good of basketball.
"The DBB will honour his memory."
Kriz was bestowed the FIBA Order of Merit in 2002 for his services rendered to basketball.