Stepas Butautas

Stepas Butautas (alternate spellings: Stiepas, Butaustas) (25 August 1925 – 22 March 2001 in Kaunas) was a Lithuanian professional basketball player and coach. He trained at the VSS Žalgiris, in Kaunas.[3] He played with the senior men's Soviet Union national basketball team at the 1952 Summer Olympic Games, where he won a silver medal. During the tournament, he played in all eight games.[4]

Stepas Butautas
Personal information
Born(1925-08-25)25 August 1925
Kaunas, Lithuania
Died22 March 2001(2001-03-22) (aged 75)
Kaunas, Lithuania
Career information
Playing career1944–1956
Number4, 5, 14
Coaching career1958–1970
Career history
As player:
1944Dinamo Kaunas
1945ASK Kaunas
1946Dinamo Kaunas
1947–1956Žalgiris Kaunas
As coach:
1955–1956Lithuania women
1958–1964Soviet Union women
1960–1966Politechnika Kaunas women
1967–1968, 1970Cuba
1975–1979Žalgiris Kaunas
Career highlights and awards
As a player:
In a 1990s interview, Butautas shared his memories about the senior Soviet Union national team's rivalry with the senior USA national team, at the 1952 Summer Olympics, by stating: "We decided to play the second game very slowly, to hold onto the ball. In short, to let the Americans control the ball as little as possible. The American squad had tall players (2.10 m or 6'11", and 2.13 m or 7'0"). Their shortest player was like our tallest. I remember when we decided to play that slowly, our team supervisor said, That’s not the Soviet school system. We lost the first game playing with the Soviet school system, by almost 30 points. In the second game, we decided to play the game slowly. The Americans were so scared, that at the 5th minute of the second quarter, when they took the lead, they themselves didn't try to score. They were holding onto the ball. The Americans wrote that the Soviets were using freeze out tactics, where you don't shoot until the last second, and that they were very close to victory. So close that the Americans had never previously been in a such situation".[1]

Stepas Butautas

According to Butautas, possibly the most memorable moment during his tenure as the head coach of the senior Cuban national basketball team, was when: "Two black players were walking in front of me, a Cuban and a Puerto Rican. It was in El Salvador. The CentroBasket was taking place there. They were talking with each other. The Puerto Rican asked, Who is your coach? Is he Russian? The Cuban replied, Oh, no. He is Lithuanian. The Puerto Rican then said, What's the difference between a Russian and a Lithuanian? The Cuban then explained, Lithuanians have a completely different alphabet, they learn their own language. By the way, he also told him where Lithuania is located – near the Baltic Sea. I think it was one of my biggest achievements".[2]

Stepas Butautas

He was named one of FIBA's 50 Greatest Players in 1991.

Playing careerEdit

Club playing careerEdit

Butautas started his career with Dinamo Kaunas in 1944. He then played with ASK Kaunas in 1945, before returning to Dinamo Kaunas in 1946. He then played with Žalgiris Kaunas, from 1947 to 1956.

With Zalgiris, he won the Soviet Union Premier League championship in 1947 and 1951. He also won 6 Lithuanian SSR championships (1945, 1950, 1952, 1953, 1954, 1955).

National team playing careerEdit

Butautas was a member of the senior Soviet Union national basketball team, from 1947 to 1954. With the Soviet Union, he won gold medals at the 1947 EuroBasket, the 1951 EuroBasket, and the 1953 EuroBasket.[5] He also won a silver medal at the 1952 Summer Olympic Games.[6]

Coaching careerEdit


After he retired from playing basketball, Butautas began a career working as a basketball coach. On the club level, he was the head coach of Politechnika Kaunas women's team, from 1960 to 1966. He was then the head coach of Žalgiris Kaunas, from 1975 to 1979.

Soviet Union women's national teamEdit

Butautas was the head coach of the senior Soviet Union women's national basketball team, from 1958 to 1964. He led them to gold medals at the 1959 FIBA World Championship for Women, and the 1964 FIBA World Championship for Women. He also won gold medals at the EuroBasket Women 1960, the EuroBasket Women 1962, and the EuroBasket Women 1964. He also won the silver medal at the EuroBasket Women 1958.

Cuban national teamEdit

Butautas was also the head coach of the senior Cuban national basketball team, from 1967 to 1968, and in 1970. He coached Cuba at the 1967 CentroBasket, the 1968 Summer Olympic Games, and at the 1970 FIBA World Championship.

Managerial careerEdit

Butautas was the department head of the Lithuanian State Institute of Physical Education (now called Lithuanian Sports University), from 1978 to 1985. He was the President of the Lithuanian SSR Basketball Federation, from 1959 to 1961. He was also the Chairman of the Lithuanian SSR Basketball Coaches Commission, from 1980 to 1989.

Personal lifeEdit

His son, Ramūnas Butautas, was the head coach of the senior men's Lithuanian national team.


  1. ^ [Telecast "Mūsų krepšinis" (Season: 1; Episode: 1; Quotation begins at 13:30)]
  2. ^ [Telecast "Mūsų krepšinis" (Season: 1; Episode: 1; Quotation begins at 17:50)]
  3. ^ Boris Khavin (1979). All about Olympic Games (in Russian) (2nd ed.). Moscow: Fizkultura i sport. p. 306.
  4. ^ Evans, Hilary; Gjerde, Arild; Heijmans, Jeroen; Mallon, Bill; et al. "Stepas Butautas Olympic Results". Olympics at Sports Reference LLC. Archived from the original on 18 April 2020. Retrieved 15 June 2018.
  5. ^ Stiepas BUTAUTAS (URS).
  6. ^ Soviet Union 4 - Stepas Butaustas.

External linksEdit