VC Belogorie Belgorod has a new head coach for the 2018-2019 season in Slobodan Kovac. The move will put Kovac, a native of Serbia, in Russia for the first time in his lengthy coaching and playing career.
Kovac will turn 51 in September of this year. His coaching career got started in 2008 with Radnicki Kragujevac until 2010 when he moved on to Sir Safety Peruga. He stayed with the club until 2014 and after a brief hiatus coaching the Iranian National Team from 2014-2015, resume action with Peruga through 2016. Then he moved on to Halkbank Ankara and recently took over a gig as the head coach of Slovenia.
In his first year with the Slovenian National Team, Kovac led to the nation to a first-place ending in Group 2 of the 2017 FIVB World League. He also has won manager of the year awards in Serbia from 2008-2010 and in Italy in 2013 and 2014.
Prior to his time as a coach, the 6’7″ Kovac had quite the playing career that spanned over 20 years. Beyond the accolades and top three finishes he recorded, he had highlight gold medals in the 2000 Sydney Olympics with Serbia and in the 2001 European Championship.
Belogorie Belgorod is coming off of a second place finish at 21-5 (60 points) in the regular season of the Russian Superleague before they were upended in the quarterfinals and eventually wound up in fifth place. The club was founded in 1976 with their latest championships coming in the CEV Cup (2018), CEV Champions League (2014) and 2013 season for the Russian SuperLeague and Russian Cup. With Kovac at the helm, Belgorod will look to end that drought in the top Russian division.