Ante Baković, president of the Croatian Volleyball Association, died in Zagreb, after battling a serious illness, on the feast of the Holy Three Kings. After countless victories, he was overtaken by a fatal defeat… For this Herzegovinian native of Tomislavgrad, there was no lost battle—until now. The disease was simply stronger…
The volleyball world will remember him as the revivalist of Croatian volleyball, because in April 2017, after sitting at the head of the then troubled Association with heavy financial debts, the revival of our volleyball began.
Ante Baković was a respected businessman, a highly decorated Homeland War officer, a tireless sports worker and a lover of volleyball. He was born on May 14, 1967 in Tomislavgrad, where he completed primary and secondary school, and in 1991 graduated from the Faculty of Traffic Sciences in Zagreb. He participated in the 1991-1995 Homeland War, was awarded the Homeland War Memorial, the Homeland Gratitude Memorial, the Order of the Croatian Clover and the Order of the Croatian Wicker. By decree of President Tuđman, he was awarded the rank of major of the HV.
He started his great sports career in 1993 as president of HAOK Mladost, but remained in volleyball until the last moment. Volleyball was, together with his family, who he loved immensely, his life.
In 2002 he became a member of the Assembly of the Zagreb Sports Association and for the second time the president of HAOK Mladost. During that time, the club achieved several great successes on the national and international scene and developed some of our greatest volleyball players. For two years, the offspring came to the leadership of the Croatian Volleyball Association, as the president with a very difficult task – organized as the host of the European Women’s Volleyball Championship in 2005, at a time when the Association was overburdened with debts of his predecessors.
However, the excellent organization was not enough to save the Association from inevitable bankruptcy, so in 2006 he ended his mandate as president, but remained a member of the Board of Directors of HOS through all the phases – from liquidation to the establishment of a new Association.
That new Alliance began with him at the helm in 2017. In 2017, when he was re-elected president of HOS, he got his hands on the “hot chestnut” for the second time. The association is on the verge of bankruptcy, in debt, the national team is in bad shape and the national league is devastated. With a firm hand and clear attitudes, impartial or uncompromising decisions and serious financial restructuring, during his first term he made a breakthrough in Croatian volleyball and brought the Croatian Volleyball Federation to the top of the Croatian sport.
After complete financial stabilization and repayment of all debts, it manages to introduce a policy of financial transactions by invitation only and for the first time in the history of Croatian volleyball provides serious financial assistance to clubs and all sports stakeholders of the volleyball. He introduces numerous innovations in national competitions, becomes an indispensable partner and support of international volleyball federations and brings numerous international competitions to Croatia. He introduces a new way of working with national teams of the younger age groups and leads the senior national team to top international experts under whose leadership the national teams achieve significant success and advance on an international scale.
By decision of the Government of the Republic of Croatia, he was appointed a member of the National Sports Council, at the Electoral Assembly of the HOO in October 2020, he was elected a member of the Council of the Croatian Olympic Committee, received an award for work success by the World Volleyball Federation (FIVB) and in the summer of 2020 he was again elected president of the Croatian Volleyball Association.
In the new term, the Association found a new headquarters after the old premises were destroyed by the earthquake, and the women’s volleyball team qualified for the League of Nations, which was Ante Baković’s great wish. And he was with the national team in Zadar, in Višnjik, and he celebrated that great triumph with them. Unfortunately last time…
Dear Ante, rest in peace.