The President of the Republic of Serbia, Mr Aleksandar Vučić, announced this past weekend the composition of the newly formed government of the Balkan country, with Zoran Gajić, the President of the Volleyball Federation of Serbia (VFS) since late November 2016, appointed as the new Minister of Sports.
Mr Gajić was born on December 28, 1958, in the city of Pančevo. He holds a master’s degree in Volleyball. From 1988 to 1993, Gajić was an assistant professor for Volleyball at the Faculty of Physical Culture in the city of Novi Sad, from 2000 to 2002 he was a professor of Volleyball at the Faculty of Coaching in Belgrade, and in 2015 he became a Volleyball lecturer at the Faculty of Coaching in Novi Sad.
From 1980 to 1988, Gajić was the head coach in the Volleyball training camp of the Serbian Province of Vojvodina and the head coach of the junior team of the Province of Vojvodina. From 1980 to 1983, he organised and supervised groups of young players aged 9 to 11.
Between 1987 and 1992, he was the coach of the junior men’s national team of Yugoslavia.
As part of his educational work, Gajić has lectured at many seminars in the former Yugoslavia, and subsequently in Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Slovenia, Greece, Turkey, Russia, Iran, and Hungary, on topics ranging from basic Volleyball techniques to working with top teams.
As the head coach of the senior men’s national team of Yugoslavia, he claimed nine medals – including a historic Olympic gold at the Sydney 2000 Games, followed by a European Championship title a year later in Ostrava (Czech Republic). The resume includes silver medals from the 1998 World Championship in Tokyo (Japan) and the 1997 European Championship in Eindhoven (Netherlands), as well as bronze medals at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta (USA), the 2001 Grand Champions Cup in Tokyo (Japan), the 2002 World League Finals in Belo Horizonte (Brazil), and the 1995 and 1999 European Championships in Athens (Greece) and Vienna (Austria), respectively.
In addition to the national team of Yugoslavia, which he coached from 1995 to 2002, he was also the head coach of the senior men’s national teams of Russia (2005-2006) and Iran (2007-2008). With the Russian national team, he won gold from the 2005 European League in Kazan (Russia), a silver medal in the 2005 European Championship in Rome and a bronze medal in the 2006 World League Finals in Moscow.
Throughout his club career, Zoran Gajić won eight national championship titles in the former Yugoslavia, Greece, Turkey, Russia, and Azerbaijan, and three National Cup titles in Yugoslavia, Greece, and Turkey. From 1989 to 1993, Gajić was the head coach of Vojvodina NOVI SAD, winning both the Championship and Cup titles in 1992, and another Championship title in 1993. From 1993 to 1995, he was the head coach of the elite Greek club Aris from Thessaloniki. For two years in a row, in 1994 and 1995, he was the vice-champion of Greece, and in 1995 he participated in the Final Tournament of the CEV Cup Winners’ Cup. From 1995 to 1997, Gajić was the coach of AVC ORESTIADA, playing in the CEV Cup Final Tournament in 1996, and finishing as the runner-up in the Championship and the Greek Cup in 1997. From 1998 to 2000, he coached Olympiacos PIRAEUS, winning both the National Championship and the Greek Cup in 1999, and another Championship title in 2000. He returned to work with ORESTIADA in the 2000-2001 season, finishing fourth in the Greek championship.
From 2002 to 2004, Gajić was at the helm of Arcelik ISTANBUL, winning the title of Turkish Champion and the Turkish Cup in 2003. The following season, he won the national championship title in Russia with Belogorie BELGOROD (where he stayed until January 30, 2005, when he was appointed as the head coach of the Russian national team).
From 2007 to 2009, he worked with Iskra ODINTSOVO, finishing as the runner-up in the Russian Championship in 2007 and 2008 and in the Russian Cup in 2008. With this very same team, Gajić took third place in the Final Four Tournament of the CEV Champions League in 2009 in Prague. Further to this, he coached Ural UFA from 2009 to 2011 in his latest Russian stint.
In 2011 and 2012, and then from 2014, Gajić was the head coach of the Azerbaijani club Rabita BAKU, achieving the greatest success in the club’s history in 2011, when he became the World Club Champion at the FIVB World Championship held in Doha (Qatar). Mr Gajić won two Azerbaijan championship titles with Rabita, doing so in 2012 and 2015.