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Élan Béarnais Pau-Lacq-Orthez, also known as simply Élan Béarnais,[1] and formerly known as Élan Béarnais Pau-Orthez, is a French professional basketball club that is based in Pau.[2][3] They compete in the top-tier French league, the LNB Pro A. They are one of the most successful clubs in French basketball history, as they have won nine French League championships and have had European-wide successes as well.

Élan Béarnais Pau-Lacq-Orthez
Élan Béarnais Pau-Lacq-Orthez logo
NicknameÉBPLO
LeaguesPro A
Champions League
Founded1908; 111 years ago (1908)
HistoryÉlan Béarnais Orthez
(1931–1989)
Élan Béarnais Pau-Orthez
(1989–2008)
Élan Béarnais Pau-Lacq-Orthez
(2008–present)
ArenaPalais des Sports de Pau
Capacity7,707
LocationPau, Pyrénées-Atlantiques, France
Team colorsWhite and Green
         
PresidentDidier Rey
General managerDidier Gadou
Head coachLaurent Vila
Championships9 French Championships
3 Tournoi des As Cup
3 French Cups
1 Semaine des As Cup
1 Korać Cup
Websiteelan-bearnais.fr
Uniforms

Contents

HistoryEdit

The Élan Béarnais was founded in 1931 in the town of Orthez in Pyrénées-Atlantiques in the southwest of France. Prior to that, the basketball club was just a section of the Orthez sports club, founded in 1908. It was not a "club" in the modern sense, but rather a sponsorship created by clerics to enable the local youth to play sports.

The club first reached the top level of French professional basketball in 1973. They were immediately relegated back to the second division, but returned to the top flight in 1976. The club then made their European debut one year later, in 1977, by qualifying for the FIBA Korać Cup. Their ascent continued by winning the FIBA Korać Cup in 1984, defeating Crvena zvezda in the final in Paris (Palais des sports Pierre-de-Coubertin). This was the first of many pieces of silverware that would be added to the club's trophy cabinet over the next two decades.

More success followed as the Élan Béarnais were finally crowned champions of France for the first time, winning back-to-back titles in 1986 and 1987. This earned them entry into the FIBA European Champions' Cup (present-day Euroleague). Despite their status as newcomers, they were anything but intimidated, completing their maiden campaign of 1986-87 with a shock 3rd-place finish and a perfect record at home. It was a magical run, as they defeated European giants or traditional clubs of European basketball like Žalgiris, Maccabi Elite Tel Aviv, Real Madrid, Zadar and that season's champions, Tracer Milano, on their home court, La Moutète. The Élan Béarnais would remain a fixture in European competition every season thereafter, until 2008, setting a European longevity record of 31 years in the process(1977–2008).

As this humble club from a village of 12,000 people at the foot of the Pyrénées blossomed into a power of European basketball, a move to a bigger city became necessary. The club changed its name in 1989, becoming the Élan Béarnais Pau-Orthez, and moved to the city of Pau, after the inauguration of the Palais des Sports in 1991. This move was made possible by the visionary efforts of two men: Pierre Seillant, the beloved longtime president of the club, and André Labarrère, then-mayor of Pau. Thanks to them, the Palais (still today the largest basketball-centric arena in France) was built, and the Élan were able to remain in their home region of Béarn.

With the relocation complete, the club carried on cementing their status as the dominant force of French basketball, winning seven more league championships over the next thirteen years. The club's total of nine championships ranks them third behind ASVEL and Limoges for the most of any team in the history of French professional basketball. The last one came in 2004, the second of back-to-back titles, and was the culmination of a golden-age for the club. The previous season, 2003, was arguably the most spectacular in the history of Pau-Orthez, when the breathtaking abilities of two homegrown, young talents named Boris Diaw and Mickaël Piétrus spearheaded the Élan Béarnais to a sweep of all three French trophies (Le Championnat, Coupe de France and Semaine des As). Diaw's campaign won him the League MVP award for French players, and following the season both he and Pietrus were drafted in the first round of the 2003 NBA Draft.

Unfortunately, due to exodus of talent, a lack of coaching stability, and financial problems, the success of the club steadily waned from 2004 on, until rock-bottom was reached and the previously unthinkable happened: in 2009, the Élan Béarnais were relegated to the LNB Pro B after finishing in last place. It was their first stint in the second division since 1976. This disappointment was used as an opportunity to re-structure and re-strengthen the club, but although they earned immediate promotion back to the Pro A in 2010, their struggles continued, and they were relegated for a second time in 2012. However, the Élan once again wasted no time in climbing directly back to the top-flight, and in the 2013-14 season they narrowly missed out on qualifying for the playoffs for the first time since 2006. With club-legend Didier Gadou entrenched as the General Manager, and former title-winning head-coach Claude Bergeaud back at the helm on the sideline, the future is bright once-again for this proud club. They remain in a tussle for a playoff berth halfway through the 2014-15 season.

In 2008, the club underwent a minor name-change for the second time in their history, becoming the Élan Béarnais Pau-Lacq-Orthez. The city of Lacq's inclusion in the name and entrance onto the director's board strengthened the club's Béarn identity. For their part, Lacq, located just north-west of Pau, now provides funding to the club.

ArenaEdit

 
The Palais des Sports, the home arena of the team

Pau-Orthez play their home games at the Palais des Sports de Pau, which has a seating capacity of 7,707 people.

RivalriesEdit

The Élan Béarnais' biggest rival is Limoges CSP, another legendary French club, and they have been trading blows with one another for national supremacy on the hardwood, both figuratively and literally, since the early 1980s. In the 22 seasons between 1983 and 2004, the two clubs combined for 18 championships, and multiple games between the two teams resulted in fights amongst the players, including one that ended in a brawl between Élan supporters and Limoges players at their old Orthez venue, La Moutète. ASVEL is also a fierce rival of the Élan Béarnais, and games against both of these teams are referred to as the "Clasico's" of French basketball, receiving tremendous hype from the media and fans.

PlayersEdit

Retired numbersEdit

Élan Béarnais Pau-Lacq-Orthez retired numbers
No. Player Position Tenure
10   Didier Gadou F 1982–2002

Current rosterEdit

Note: Flags indicate national team eligibility at FIBA sanctioned events. Players may hold other non-FIBA nationality not displayed.

Élan Béarnais Pau-Orthez roster
Players Coaches
Pos. No. Nat. Name Ht. Wt. Age
G 1   Choupas, Yohan 1.93 m (6 ft 4 in) 19 – (2000-03-11)11 March 2000
PF 2   Pacher, A. J. 2.08 m (6 ft 10 in) 111 kg (245 lb) 27 – (1992-02-17)17 February 1992
PG 3   Bokolo, Yannick 1.88 m (6 ft 2 in) 82 kg (181 lb) 34 – (1985-06-19)19 June 1985
PF 4   Cavalière, Léopold 2.01 m (6 ft 7 in) 23 – (1996-04-27)27 April 1996
C 6   Keller, Ákos 2.10 m (6 ft 11 in) 30 – (1989-03-28)28 March 1989
SG 7   Pinero, Taqwa 1.91 m (6 ft 3 in) 90 kg (198 lb) 35 – (1983-08-06)6 August 1983
SF 8   Pouaveyoun, Florian 2.03 m (6 ft 8 in) 19 – (1999-08-05)5 August 1999
SG 11   Harris, C. J. 1.91 m (6 ft 3 in) 28 – (1991-02-19)19 February 1991
SF 15   Smith, Donta 2.01 m (6 ft 7 in) 100 kg (220 lb) 35 – (1983-11-27)27 November 1983
C 23   Chikoko, Vitalis 2.11 m (6 ft 11 in) 111 kg (245 lb) 28 – (1991-02-19)19 February 1991
PG 32   McConnell, Mickey 1.83 m (6 ft 0 in) 82 kg (181 lb) 30 – (1989-04-14)14 April 1989
SF 35   Diawara, Digue 2.07 m (6 ft 9 in) 20 – (1998-10-03)3 October 1998
PF 88   Daval-Braquet, Thibault 2.10 m (6 ft 11 in) 21 – (1997-12-15)15 December 1997
PF   Cornelie, Petr 2.11 m (6 ft 11 in) 100 kg (220 lb) 24 – (1995-06-25)25 June 1995
G   Mobley, Matt 1.93 m (6 ft 4 in) 84 kg (185 lb) 24 – (1994-09-01)1 September 1994
Head coach
Assistant coach(es)
Team manager

Legend
  • (C) Team captain
  •   Injured

Updated: April 7, 2017

Notable playersEdit

All-time RosterEdit

HonoursEdit

Total titles: 18

Domestic competitionsEdit

Winners (9): 1985–86, 1986–87, 1991–92, 1995–96, 1997–98, 1998–99, 2000–01, 2002–03, 2003–04
Runners-up (4): 1988–89, 1992–93, 1994–95, 2001–02
Winners (3): 2001–02, 2002–03, 2006–07
Runners-up (2): 2000–01, 2003–04
Winners (4): 1990–91, 1991–92, 1992–93, 2002-03
Winners (1): 2007

European competitionsEdit

3rd place (1): 1986–87
Winners (1): 1983–84
Semifinalists (1): 1994–95
Runners-up (1): 1984

Season by seasonEdit

Season Tier Division Pos. W–L French Cup European competitions
2009–10
2
Pro B
1st
2010–11
1
Pro A
9th
13–17
2011–12
1
Pro A
15th
7–23
3 EuroChallenge
RS
1–5
2012–13
2
Pro B
2nd
2013–14
1
Pro A
11th
15–15
2014–15
1
Pro A
13th
13–21
2015–16
1
Pro A
7th
21–15
2016–17
1
Pro A
7th
23–14
4 FIBA Europe Cup
R2
8–2

In European and worldwide competitionsEdit

The road to the 1983–84 FIBA Korać Cup victoryEdit

Kit manufacturerEdit

2017: PEAK[4]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Élan Béarnais Twitter". Twitter.com. Retrieved 2 March 2018.
  2. ^ Official website
  3. ^ [1]
  4. ^ Pau-Lacq-Orthez FIBA Europe Cup 2017, FIBA.com, 18 January 2017. Retrieved 30 March 2017.

External linksEdit