The history of the “Lokomotiv” started back in 1946 in Mineralnye Vody. There were not many of those volunteering to play basketball during the first after-war years — not more than 150 people. Teenagers were being trained by experienced and patient mentors — railways workers Grigory Abugov and Nikolai Kharchenko. Grigory Abugov later became a famous coach, who raised a number of high-class professionals. Some of them are still in basketball as coaches.
Grigory Abugov and his team
“Lokomotiv” played in the first league of the National Championship for a number of years, until in 1994 it finally got into the elite of the national basketball. In 1999 “Lokomotiv” got the right to represent Russia in European tournaments and won the Cup of the International Railways Sorts Union.
The season 2002/2003 became final for the team from Mineralnye Vody. “Lokomotiv” hardly reached play-off, taking the 8th place out of 10, where it lost to the champion CSKA in all three matches. It became obvious, that the changes had to be made. The decision was made to move the club to a more developed and economically growing area — Rostov region.
The basketball club “Lokomotiv — Rostov” was established in 2003 in Rostov-on-Don. The project was organised by Andrey Vedishev, world-class master of sports, bronze medalist of the European Championship and the Russian National Championship.
Lokomotiv-Rostov home arena, 2008
For the next six years the club was splaying in the city on Don. During these years the “railways’ ” team was one of the strongest in Russia: regularly participating in play-off of the national championship and in the European cups. The best achievement of the “Lokomotiv” during these years was the 5th place in the Russian National Championship (2006/07 season) and the final of the FIBA Cup (2004/05 season).
In the summer of 2009 made a decision to move the club from Rostov-on-Don to Krasnodar. The main reason for that was that arenas in Rostov were not satisfying the requirements of the Russian National Championship and the European club’s tournaments.
Relocation of the club caused the change of the team’s name — “Lokomotiv-Kuban”. The first season of “Lokomotiv” in Kuban started under the leadership of Slovenian specialist Sasho Filipovski. The start of the season was successful. The team from Krasnodar almost won CSKA in away match, and then won three times in a raw, which helped them to settle on the second place of the league table of the tournament.
Unfortunately, soon the team got caught up with the series of failures. Following that, it lost its confidence and started loosing its positions in the Russian National Championship, where by the end of the 2009 “Lokomotiv” got down to the middle of the league table.
The management of the club took immediate actions to rectify the situation: Sasho Filipovski was replaced with the head coach of Lithuania — Kestutis Kemzura.
After loosing all the chances of staying in Eurochallenge, the club concentrated on the National Championship. Kestutis Kemzura improved the team-game and put every player on his own position on the court. The new coach helped to reveal many talented players: Gerald Green — became the best scorer in the second half of the season; Grigory Shukhovtsov — was invited to the Russian national team at the end of the tournament.
The season 2011/2012 was incredibly intense and productive for “Lokomotiv-Kuban”. The strong team was formed by well-known coach Bozidar Maljkovic. It was successful and not only performed well in major international tournaments like the European Cup and VTB United League, but also won bronze medals of the Russian Championship.
The right to take part in the second most important European championship, the European Cup, “Lokomotiv” got last season, when managed to get to the final of the Challenge Cup.
The next season, the team from Krasnodar looked confident despite the fact that it was a fresher in the European Cup. Passing the group selection with the second result in the group — 4 wins in 6 matches, “Lokomotiv” went through to the last 16, where it had to meet with Lithuanian “Lietuvos Rytas”, Italian “Benneton” and German “Alba”. In quarterfinal “Lokomotiv” met with “Khimki”, which at the end became the champion.
Apart from the debut in the elite European tournament, Eurocup, the club from Krasnodar also for the first time played in the VTB United League (eastern-Europe championship. “Lokomotiv” demonstrated top-level basketball in the regular season, and got to the play-off, taking the 4th place at the end.
There has only been progressive development since the team moved to Krasnodar. The following season the team was headed by a coach that dos not require introduction — Evgeny Pashutin. The aims and objectives of the team got more complicated and ambitious — first places in the Russian National Championship and the VTB United League, and winning the Euroleague.