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Pop’s coaching tree continues with Ettore Messina

One of the most celebrated international basketball coaches spent five years in San Antonio.

Dallas Mavericks v San Antonio Spurs Photo by Ronald Cortes/Getty Images

Ettore Messina, the man once believed to have been brought in to take the reins from Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, started his coaching career with youth basketball back in 1976.

An impressive three-plus decades overseas garnering four EuroLeague Championships, six Italian League championships, eight Italian Cups, two Italian Supercups, a three-peat of Torneo Comunidad de Madrid championships, six Russian League Championships, two Russian Cups, a trio of Golmesky Cups, were enough to earn the Italian-born coach an invite to join the newly crowned 2014 NBA Champion San Antonio Spurs.

As if the opportunity to win a championship in the United States wasn’t enough, the two-time EuroLeague and four-time Russian League Coach of the Year quickly became the favorite to succeed the franchise’s long-time coach.

After five season as an assistant, the Big 3 had dismantled and the Spurs angling more for a rebuild than a title run, Messina accepted the position as the new head coach and President of Basketball Operations of the Italian club Olimpia Milano.

It should come as no surprise that in 2008, Ettore Messina was named one of the 50 Greatest EuroLeague Contributors.

Now more than two season removed from his San Antonio stint, most fans would be welcoming to a Messina return at any point in the future, whether as a coach or in some other staff position.

Next up: James Borrego

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