A legend is back in Europe – Ettore Messina


After a very disappointing season in Italy and Europe, the revolution was the main word in Olimpia Milano`s board and roster. First of all, Livio Prioli resigned from presidency and coach Simone Pianigiani was sacked, because of the poor results from the 2018-2019 season. Several players were sacked or didn`t receive a contract renewal. But, all in all, everything is brighter in Milano these days: They bring back home, the Euroleague legend, Ettore Messina. Let`s see what accomplishments he achieved during his career.

He started as a coach at Virtus Bologna. He had two different stints at this club, between 1989-1993 and 1997-2002. During the first period, he won an Italian Cup and a FIBA Winner`s Cup and in the second spell he won Euroleague twice, in 1998 and 2001. Between these two Virtus`s periods, he coached Italy National Team and lead them to a silver medal at 1997 EuroBasket.

After 3 seasons spent at Benetton Treviso, where he won several Italian Cups and an Italian Championship, he signed with the Russian powerhouse, CSKA Moscow. In his first season, 2005-2006, he won the Triple Crown, Russian Championship, Russian Cup and Euroleague – for the third time in his career. Also, in 2008 he won another Euroleague title, beating in the final Maccabi Tel Aviv. He resigned from CSKA in 2009 and signed with Real Madrid, but after some poor results, he resigned in March 2011.

After that, he was appointed as a consultant in NBA for Los Angeles Lakers. He spent only one year in NBA and after that, he came back to CSKA Moscow. He spent two seasons in Russia, winning Russian League and VTB Championship. In 2014 he left CSKA for the second time and then the biggest chance of his life has arrived.

In 2014 he was appointed by Gregg Popovich as an assistant coach at San Antonio Spurs. He coached Spurs in a preseason game in 2014, because Gregg was unable to travel with the team. In 2016 he also served as head coach for Spurs for two games, due to Gregg leaving for family reasons. In 2018 he served as head coach of San Antonio Spurs in their playoffs series with Golden State Warriors after Gregg Popovich`s wife passed away.

After 5 years under one of the biggest coaches basketball has ever seen, Gregg Popovich, he felt the desire for a new challenge. The timing was perfect because Milano needed a new coach and president of basketball operations. Starting from this year, those roles are now filled by Ettore Messina. He signed a three-year contract and his personal target is, without any doubt, his fifth Euroleague trophy.

He decided to come to Milano because they gave him the same power Gregg has at San Antonio Spurs. He wanted the power to have the last word on strategic decisions, the signing or transfer of any player. Also, his vast experience will help him do great things in his native Italy and make Milano`s fans happy and proud.

Bogdan Vasile Tirc