Slaven Bilić has made his first appointments as Albion’s Head Coach by recruiting two assistants from his Croatian homeland to his coaching team.
Slaven will take charge of pre-season training when the players return next week with Dean Računica and Danilo Butorović at his side.
For both it will be their first taste of coaching in English football but each are trusted, long-time associates of Slaven.
Računica worked closely with the new Hawthorns gaffer during his two European Championships campaigns as national boss while Butorovic has been on Bilic’s radar as a rising young coach in Croatian club football.
He is seen as a key figure in helping to provide data and analysis for Slaven as an aide to coaching and match preparation.
Here’s more about our two new coaching recruits for the 2019/20 campaign:
Now 49, Dean enjoyed an eminent playing career as a creative No.10 which took him from hometown club Sibenik to Hajduk Split, where he first encountered Slaven as a team-mate.
He then enjoyed spells in Austria with Austria Salzburg, Israel with Hapoel Tel Aviv and Hapoel Ironi Rishon moving to Chongqing Lifanin in China.
In 2002 and after winning two international caps, his career was cut short when he was diagnosed with a heart problem, but not before receiving a lifetime award from passionate Hajduk fans who loved his charismatic personality on and off the field.
He spent six seasons as an assistant coach at Hajduk before he took on the head job at lower league side Uskok Klis in 2010. In 2012, he took over Junak Sinj and in 2015 became the assistant coach of Slovak side Dunajska Streda, under the coaching staff of former Derby County player Aljosa Asanovic.
In 2017, Računica took up a job in Australia, becoming the assistant coach to Aljoša at Melbourne Knights before a year later rejoining Bilic and his backroom staff at Al-Ittihad.
As a coach, his most renowned work came between 2008-2013 when he worked with the Croatian FA both for the full international team and U21s. His role for the seniors was as scout/analyst during the 2008 and 2012 European Championships
With the U21s, he specialized in individual player work and was a mentor for international stars Mateo Kovacic, Duje Cop, Andrej Kramaric and Luka Modric.
Danilo, who will be celebrating his 35th birthday in July, has long been regarded as one of the up-and-coming coaching talents of Croatian football.
He holds a UEFA Pro license and, like the man who has recruited him, is a multi-lingual addition to Albion’s coaching team, fluent in English and Italian.
His reputation in his native land flourished as coach of regional Croatian club NK ORIJENT1919, whom he helped recover from liquidation in 2014 and raise from the bottom of the nation’s fourth tier to challenging for promotion to the second in three seasons.
Danilo left Orijent when he was recruited by Slaven for an assistant’s role at Al Ittihad but their relationship goes back five years when Slaven invited his fellow countryman to gain some experience at a West Ham training camp.
He enjoyed the same opportunity at Hajduk Split while also being involved in coaching throughout Croatia’s age group teams, up to and including Under-21 football.
Danilo prides himself on his modern methods which is expected to be a feature of his work at Albion. His expertise in technology and analysis will see him focusing particularly on pre-match preparation, recruitment and training preparations and assessment.
Dean and Danilo join Jimmy Shan, Gary Walsh and Nick Davies in Albion's senior backroom staff.