Alketas Panagoulias, the coach who led Greece to their first ever major tournament at the 1980 UEFA European Championship, has died at the age of 78 at his home in Washington DC.
After beginning his career as a left-back for Aris Thessaloniki FC in 1951, Panagoulias's first coaching role came with New York outfit Greek American Atlas. He became assistant to Greece coach Billy Bingham in 1972 and a year later took the reins, guiding the side to the eight-team UEFA European Championship final tournament in Italy in 1980.
Successful spells with Olympiacos FC and the United States national team preceded Panagoulias's second spell in charge of his homeland, whom he guided to a first FIFA World Cup appearance in the US in 1994. He held the record of 74 matches in charge of Greece before being surpassed by Otto Rehhagel in 2007.
Hellenic Football Federation President Sofoklis Pilavios gave UEFA.com his thoughts on Panagoulias's passing: "It's a big loss. He was a great personality both in sport and the politics of sport. He was the pioneer that led the Greek football team to their first ever big successes."
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