In memory of
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In memory of
SPASSOV, Angel Angel Spassov Tzvetkov (Coach Spassov), 75, passed away in Austin Feb. 11, 2017, with his family by his side. He lived a cherished and full life and was taken too soon. He is survived by his wife, Galia Spassov Tzvetkov, daughters Kalina and Boriana, and sister, Stella Spassova Tzvetkova. A visitation is scheduled Sat., Feb. 18, from 11 a.m.-1 p.m., at Cook-Walden Funeral Home, 6100 N. Lamar. A memorial service is scheduled Sat., March 11, at 2 p.m., at UT's H.J. Lutcher Stark Center. Angel was a loving husband and partner to his wife, a devoted father, and a mentor, coach and loyal friend to hundreds around the world. He was born Nov. 18, 1941 in Nikopol, Bulgaria, to Pasko Krachounov Tzvetkov and Neviana Krasteva Todorova. After graduating high school, Angel served two years in the Bulgarian Army and then embarked upon a remarkable sports and coaching career that spanned more than 50 years. Widely recognized as one of the world's top strength & conditioning specialists, he participated in seven Olympic Games and guided countless athletes from all over the world to record results. He authored 11 books and more than 70 articles on strength and conditioning and lectured in dozens of countries. He coached the Bulgarian National Weightlifting Team for seven Olympic Games (1968-96) and helped athletes win seven gold, eight silver and five bronze medals. He also coached the 1988 Egyptian National Team. In all, he guided multisport men and women athletes from many nations to 22 gold, 18 silver and 21 bronze Olympic medals. Angel was a strength expert since 1988 with the Olympic Solidarity Commission of the International Olympic Committee. After an elite level weightlifting career, Angel studied at the National Sports Academy in Sofia, Bulgaria, graduating in 1966 with a major in Scientific Basis of Sports Training. His Ph.D., earned in 1972 from the Academy, included a dissertation on the topic of Pre-competitive Warm-up for Elite Athletes. A second doctorate (Doctor of Science) in 1981 included a dissertation on Some Physiological Evaluations of the Periodization, Volume and Intensity of World Class Athletes. An exceptional student, he had a genuinely prodigious memory-a gift often on display during the wonderful, detailed stories he shared with friends and students. Angel also was recognized as an Honored Coach of the People's Republic of Bulgaria - a title bestowed by the Bulgarian Parliament and Bulgarian Union for Physical Culture and Sport. Angel taught 25 years at the National Sports Academy in Sofia, attaining top academic rank and full professor status as a specialist in strength & conditioning. He originally came to the U.S. in 1990, invited by the U.S. Weightlifting Federation and National Strength and Conditioning Association to conduct lectures and practical demonstrations in 33 cities to thousands of U.S. and Canadian coaches. He was introduced to Dr. Donna Lopiano, women's athletics director at Texas, during the tour. She hired him as a consultant and eventually as full-time strength & conditioning coach. He spent 22 years (1989-2001) at UT working with varied men's and women's varsity teams. He also consulted with and trained countless professional sports athletes before founding Austin's Tangra Elite Athletics in 2003, continuing to train and develop athletes of all levels and ages. His most enduring legacy is the personal impact on friends and trainees; he truly was a unique individual with an uncommon ability to connect with people regardless of age, background or circumstance. His intelligence, gentleness and utter selflessness stood out. As a coach, he gained athletes' absolute trust, and his breadth of knowledge across sports was so striking that it often seemed that he knew more about sports than individual sport coaches. His resume and list of accomplishments are a testament to those qualities, but the way he utilized knowledge -- and his humanistic personality -- made him the coach and man all remember. Angel loved to spoil his multilingual daughters (they speak Bulgarian, English, Spanish and French), and he never tossed even the smallest of gifts they provided him. His daughters and his family made him proudest about his life, and the family simply loved being together, listening to Angel. "We loved his stories so much, that if he hadn't told us any for a few days, we'd just ask him for one," Kalina said. Boriana added, "We always wanted to make daddy happy by doing as well as we could because we knew he was doing the best he could for us." Those lucky to call him comrade have a favorite Angel story or three, and they remain legendary, from personal tales to his Forest Gump-like treks across the globe from the late 1960s on. His travels and encounters and adventures with the famous and infamous could fill a bookshelf. Angel was modest beyond measure, spoke nearly a dozen languages, and traveled to more than 200 countries. Angel had a wisdom that allowed him to see common threads of mankind throughout history that drive and motivate all. He used that insight to connect with each athlete and individual in different and memorable ways. He will be dearly missed. -- You can't do anything about the length of your life, but you can do something about its width and depth. H. L. Mencken In lieu of flowers, please consider a gift in honor of Angel to the memorial fund listed to help finance funeral expenses, and to provide educational assistance for Kalina and Boriana going forward. Thank you, and please keep Angel and the Spassov family in your prayers.
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