When Panathinaikos OPAP Athens defeated Herbalife Gran Canaria on Thursday night, its head coach, Xavi Pascual, joined an exclusive list of EuroLeague coaches with 200 career wins this century. How exclusive? Pascual is only the third man after Zeljko Obradovic (275) and Ettore Messina (224) to reach that number. Pascual collected his first 160 victories over nine seasons with FC Barcelona and now has 40 wins in two seasons and three games with Panathinaikos. In that time, Pascual has only lost 80 games, giving him a winning percentage of 71.4%.
The road Pascual traveled to reach 200 wins in the EuroLeague was not a typical one. He coached in Spain’s minor leagues early in his career before getting a chance as the coach of Barcelona’s B team in 2004. There he impressed enough to earn a spot as an assistant coach on the senior Barcelona squad a year later. He was promoted to be interim head coach when Dusko Ivanovic was fired during the 2007-08 season and earned his stripes there. Pascual would coach eight more seasons in Barcelona and in total led the team to the EuroLeague Playoffs in all nine seasons, including five Final Fours and the 2010 EuroLeague championship. He was also named Alexander Gomelskiy EuroLeague Coach of the Year for the 2009-10 season.
Pascual has never had a losing record in the EuroLeague when he started the season with a club and has reached the playoffs every time. Now with 200 wins, he can be included among the all-time great coaches in EuroLeague history.