One of the most prominent European coaches, Ettore Messina, has moved to Europe ending his five-year tenure with the San Antonio Spurs. Messina has officially signed a three-year deal with the Italian powerhouse, Olimpia Milano. Gregg Popovich’s former lead assistant in San Antonio will hold head coach and president of basketball operations positions simultaneously with Olimpia Milano.
Spurs assistant coach Ettore Messina has agreed on a deal to run basketball operations and become the new head coach of Olimpia Milano, sources tell @TheAthleticNBA @Stadium. Messina has been a lead assistant on Gregg Popovich’s staff since 2014.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) June 11, 2019
Ettore Messina moved to the NBA in 2011 to join the Los Angeles Lakers coaching staff as a consultant. His second NBA stint started in 2014 when he became Popovich’s lead assistant. The Spurs failed to produce titles during Messina’s tenure, however, the coach’s stock has risen significantly and his name has been linked to several head coach vacancies over the years.
The Italian specialist is coming to Milano in times of uncertainty and distress. The 2018-19 campaign was a major disappointment for the most successful Italian club. Despite the presence of major talent, including the former Suns guard Mike James and former Timberwolves and Rockets forward James Nunnally, Olimpia hasn’t made Euroleague playoffs and was surprisingly swept by Dinamo Sassari in the Italian league semifinal.
? Ettore Messina è il nuovo allenatore dell'Olimpia Milano ?? https://t.co/ydrKSAvEXj
? Ettore Messina is Olimpia Milan's new head coach ?? https://t.co/I1mA4HI6xL
— Olimpia Milano (@OlimpiaMI1936) June 11, 2019
Messina’s pedigree and vast experience is what Italian powerhouse definitely needed. The Italian native won two Euroleague Coach of the Year awards and four times led his clubs to Euroleague championship. Messina has also won numerous domestic championships in Italy and Russia. His most impressive run came from 2006 to 2008 when CSKA Moscow won two Euroleague titles and dominated the domestic scene.
Olimpia Milano is a 28-time Italian champion, 3-time Euroleague champion and the winner of International Cup. The club has been home to many prominent players, including Bob McAdoo, Rolando Blackman, Darryl Dawkins, Antonio Davis, and Mike D’Antoni. Messina coming to Milano could help bring them back to times of prosperity and success.