The Coach: Myron Markevych
Former Karpaty Coach Leads Dnipro into European History
While the football-loving eyes of the nation were transfixed on Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk’s remarkable run to the Europa League final last month, fans in Lviv could be excused for cheering a little louder after seeing one of their own walk down the sideline. Head Coach Myron Markevych didn’t just grow up in the Lviv Region, he built his entire football career in the city. While he wasn’t quite able to lead his Dnipro squad to its first ever European trophy – the team fell 2:3 to Seville in the Europa League final – the long-time Ukrainian Premiere League (UPL) coach and former head coach of the Ukrainian National team earned renewed respect by leading Dnipro to more success than the team has seen in its nearly 100 years of existence. While it was disappointing not to see the him rewarded with a European title for his efforts, it was nice to see the man that led FC Karpaty to some of its most successful seasons basking in the European spotlight. So, for the uninitiated, here’s a short biography of “Coach Karpaty” – Myron Markevych.
Born in the Lviv suburb of Vynnyky, Markevych had a love of the game from an early age. Playing midfield, he graduated from the Lviv Institute of Physical Education and played in the reserve system of FC Karpaty back in the Soviet days. He also played one season for SKA Lviv, before eventually ending his playing days at Torpedo Lutsk. Following his playing career, he entered the Supreme School of Coaches in Moscow, which led him on the career path to where he’d really leave his mark on the game – as a coach. Shortly after graduation, he was picked up by his former club in Lutsk. He bumped around a few teams during the late 90s – Lutsk, Krivyy Rih, and Khmelnytskiy – before ending up behind the bench at FC Karpaty Lviv. Beginning his stint in 1992 – the first Ukrainian League after independence – “Coach Karpaty” would lead the team for most of the next 12 years, including to some of its most memorable successes. This included the Green Lions’ first trip to the Ukrainian Cup final in 1993 (where they lost to Dynamo Kyiv), the squad’s only trip to the UEFA Cup Winner’s Cup in 1994 (where they lost to Ireland’s Shelbourne 1:3 after winning 1:0 in Lviv), and a 3rd-place finish in the UPL in 1997-98 – a feat that has yet to be topped. While he was building a winning team here in Lviv, his talent was noted and he was drawn to bigger and richer pastures when Metalist Kharkiv wooed him away in 2005.
Building a Resume
The move proved to be beneficial for Metalist, as Markevych was able to guide the team to regular 3rd-place UPL finishes after perennial powerhouses Dynamo Kyiv and Shakhtar Donetsk. This included regular appearances, and the inherent influx of TV revenues, for playing in the Europa League. His highlight in Kharkiv was surely when the team finished second in 2012 to qualify for the lucrative Champions League. However, despite winning its qualifying match against Greece’s PAOK, the team was disqualified and thrown out of the competition due to a match-fixing violation (with Karpaty. See our coverage in the September 2013 issue of Lviv Today). This surely rankled Markevych, who had quit his job as the Ukrainian National Team head coach in 2010 due to his perceived interference of oligarch Hryhory Surkis – owner of Dynamo Kyiv and head of the Football Federation of Ukraine. Regardless, because of his successes, he remained a highly-sought after coach.
Always the Bridesmaid
By the time that Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk signed him in 2014, he already held the all-time record for most games coached in the Premiere League. He has shown an immediate impact in Dnipro; not only leading the team to its first ever European tournament final, but also pushing Shakhtar for second place in the UPL right up until the end of the season. “Coach Karpaty” is in the prime of his career, regularly drawing the best from his players. He’s been a bridesmaid (2nd- or 3rd-place) 12 times in his career. He nearly had his first title on that rainy night in Warsaw when his team went up 1:0 after only 7 minutes. However, a late, 73rd-minute strike broke his team’s heart once again. It seems like it’s only a matter of time before the man delivers a title – and when he does, he can bet that the entire Lviv Region will be right there smiling along with him.