There have been a lot of changes at Athletic Club over the past month. Ernesto Valverde left the club after four year and was immediately replaced by Cuco Ziganda. That move left a vacancy at Bilbao Athletic and President Josu Urrutia has been working hard to fill the void with his number one choice – Gaizka Garitano. After mulling over the offer to take over the reserve team, Garitano has accepted.
On Thursday, Athletic officially announced that Gaizka Garitano is the new manager of Bilbao Athletic and has signed a two year contract with the club.
Garitano grew up at Lezama and played for several seasons at Bilbao Athletic. He was never able to make the jump to the first team but did spend time at Eibar, Real Sociedad, and Alaves. After retiring, he became an assistant at Eibar before coaching the reserve team and eventually the first team. He then had spells at Real Valladolid and Deportivo La Coruna before coming back to Athletic this summer.
This hiring is eerily similar to that of Cuco Ziganda back in 2011. Like Ziganda, Garitano has always been great at developing young players but struggled in the Primera while coaching smaller clubs. He is excited to be taking over a project that will be focused more on development instead of results, and will get the chance to work with Lezama’s brightest stars. Ziganda and Garitano are expected to work alongside each other to prepare young stars for the first team.