Athletic Club Well Represented In The Coaching Realm Of Football

Gaizka Garitano

Gaizka Garitano is one of four former Lions coaching in the Primera (AC)

Throughout history, Athletic has produced some of the best footballers to ever play the game, but the Basque giants have also given the world many talented managers. In the past, club legends such as Txetxu Rojo, Javier Clemente, José María Amorrortu, and the late Koldo Aguirre have gone from playing to leading the club from the sidelines. Many have even found success outside of Athletic and the same is true today.

This season 7 of the 42 clubs from Spain’s First and Second division will be managed by former Lions. Ernesto Valverde (Barcelona), Athletic (Gaizka Garitano), José Luis Mendilibar (Eibar), Asier Garitano (Alavés), Aritz López Garai (Tenerife), Jon Pérez ‘Bolo’ (Ponferradina), and Andoni Iraola (Mirandes) all have ties to the Zurigorri.

Athletic is also represented at the international level. Several months ago, Javier Clemente was named the manager of the Basque National Team while Julen Guerrero coaches Spain’s U15 and U16 teams and Luis de la Fuente just led Spain’s U21 side to a European Championship.

The lower levels of football have also seen former Lions find success as managers. Last year Aitor Larrazabal led Barakaldo to the promotional playoffs while Iñigo Velez (Amorebieta) and Jon Ander Lambea (Leioa) once wore the red and white. This summer Joseba Etxeberria returned to manage Bilbao Athletic as did Patxi Salinas who will lead CD Basconia.

While players continue to become stars at Athletic and beyond, many are extending their football careers long after they hang up their boots. From youth development and professional career to managing a club, Athletic is at the forefront of preparing young men and women for a successful life in the world of football.

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