Donar has signed an agreement with Andrej Stimac as assistant coach for one season with an option for another season. Meindert van Veen will also play a role again at Donar.
Andrej Stimac (pronounced Sjtimats) is a Croatian, from Rijeka, born on 31 March 1979. After a long career as a power forward/center (including Cibona Zagreb – EuroLeague, Turow, Menorca, Lions de Genève), he began his coaching career in 2017 as an assistant at Fribourg Olympic under Petar Aleksic. In that period until 2020, he also took on Donar in the preliminaries to the Basketball Champions League in that role. He was also – like Matthew Otten – assistant coach with the national team.
From 2020 Stimac was the head coach of the Lions de Genève. The first year he was very successful and his team captured the Swiss Cup and the SBL Cup; the last season the club had to take a step back and could not play Europe.
Drago Pasalic did play against him, but nevertheless did not know him well. “He played at a good European level. He started his coaching career in Switzerland. Our paths crossed again when he was assistant coach of Fribourg and eliminated Donar from the BCL. I think that in Andrej we will get a good and experienced assistant coach, who together with Matthew will create a good working atmosphere, which is necessary for the development of players individually and as a team.”
Stimac himself was impressed with the club when Fribourg played in Groningen: “The organisation was very good, the introduction was also pleasing and we walked around the centre and the city looked very good. The first contact was through my agent; then I spoke to Drago and Matthew and they hit it off well. I also spoke to Ivan Rudez, my former coach, who was also very positive despite his premature departure. I start this job with the idea that it is for ever. I’m really looking forward to it and I’m looking forward to working hard in August.
Meindert van Veen
Meindert van Veen is back with Donar. The man with perhaps the most basketball experience in the Netherlands will play a role as mentor/advisor to the coaching staff of Donar. Van Veen has a wealth of experience as a coach in many roles (ladies, men, head coach, assistant, national coach) and is far from tired of the game.
Donar has asked him to support the coaches as much as possible this year. For example, he is also involved in the selection process for this season’s new Donar team. Van Veen says he is ‘very much looking forward’ to this new job.