Official: Ettore Messina joins Spurs coaching staff


And the press releases keeping rolling out. Hours after announcing the re-signing of Boris Diaw, the San Antonio Spurs announced that famed international coach Ettore Messina has joined Gregg Popovich’s coaching staff.

The San Antonio Spurs today announced that they have hired Etorre Messina as an assistant coach. A four-time Euroleague Champion and a two-time Euroleague Coach of the Year, Messina brings over 25 years of coaching experience to the bench.

“I am honored to have such an accomplished individual join our program,” Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich said. “Coach Messina is an exceptional coach, a great leader and someone we can all learn from.”

Messina joins the Spurs after spending the last two years as the head coach of the CSKA Moscow in the Russian League, his second stint with the team. Before returning to CSKA Moscow, Messina served as a coaching consultant for the L.A. Lakers in 2011-12. Prior to making the move to the NBA, Messina spent four seasons (2005-2009) at the helm of CSKA Moscow where he led the team to two Euroleague Championships (2006, 2008) and four Russian SuperLeague titles (2006-2009).

Before coaching in the Russian League, Messina served as a coach in the Italian League for over 15 years. He earned two Euroleague Championships (1998 and 2001) as well as several Italian championships with Virtus Bologna, where he had two stints as head coach (1989-1993, 1997-2002). After leaving Bologna, Messina went on to coach Benetton Treviso from 2002-2005, guiding the team to an Italian championship in 2003.

Named one of the Euroleague’s 10 Greatest All-Time Coaches in 2008, Messina has earned numerous coaching accolades throughout his career including European Coach of the Year in 1998, Euroleague Coach of the Year in 2006 and 2008, and Italian Coach of the Year in 1990, 1993, 1998, 2001 and 2005.

A native of Catania, Italy, Messina also served as head coach of the senior men’s Italian national basketball team (1993-1997), where he led Italy to the silver medal at the 1997 European Championship.

I don’t typically copy and paste entire press release in posts, but I wanted to in this case just so everyone can see how accomplished of a coach the Spurs are adding to the staff. The Spurs may have missed out on Pau Gasol in free agency, but they added a Gasol-level coach to their program.

We touched on the possible addition of Messina during the Finals when the rumor first emerged so I don’t want to get too redundant. Just know that a top coach joined the Spurs’ already strong staff. Arguably the most dynamic, malleable team in the league just added a new wrinkle.

  • yeahisaidspurs

    Very cool!

  • Anthony GC D’Andrea

    This team, despite a dominant championship run, continues to fly under the radar! Back to back titles this season!

  • Carlo

    Sooo happy about this. Ettore could be Pop’s replacement (in a hopefully distant future) as he’s 10 years younger.
    I think Pop will give him a couple years of “NBA set in” and then… FLY!

  • Melbourne Spur
  • atanamor

    “I don’t typically copy and paste entire press release in posts”… well, maybe you should, as press releases usually don’t get coaches’ names wrong (it’s Ettore, and not Etorre). But I understand Italian names and surnames can be very tricky for foreigners! Apart from the glitch, it’s a great hire for Spurs. Messina is a solid coach with winning mentality – I’ve seen many of his teams playing in Europe, and they always outperformed their players’ raw talent. Can’t wait to see what happens with him and Pop at the helm!

  • Filemon

    I’m happy to see more international blood in the Spurs, and he’s a proven winner. However, it’s important to see the other side too. I know people in Spain complain that he was a disaster in Real Madrid, and his most recent job in CSKA is also very criticized, to the point that right now he is infamous for sinking great teams. We’ll see. I don’t have high expectations.

  • Andrew A. McNeill

    The name was misspelled in the press release, my hands are clean.

  • Carlo

    First, results speak for themselves while “critics” can be right… or wrong.

    Anyway, Spurs have an age-long relationship with Europe in general and Italy in particular (see Manu’s draft) and I’m pretty sure they know Messina much better than any casual observer.