Entering his fourth season with the Spurs, Ettore Messina is a respected figure in the international basketball community, having been named one of the Euroleague’s 10 Greatest All-Time Coaches in 2008 along with numerous other accolades including a nod as European Coach of the Year, two as Euroleague Coach of the Year, four as Russian Coach of the Year, and five as Italian Coach of the Year—all topped off with a 2009 induction into the Italian Basketball Hall of Fame.
A native of Catania, Italy, Ettore served as an Italian League coach for over 15 years including two stints with Virtus Bologna where he tallied three Italian League championships in 1993, 1998, and 2001 as well as two EuroLeague championships in 1998 and 2001 before leading Benetton Treviso to an Italian League title of their own in 2003. In that time, he also served as head coach of the Senior Men’s Italian National Basketball Team for four seasons culminating in a silver medal at the 1997 European Championship.
Soon after, he spent four seasons at the helm of CSKA Moscow where he led the team to two Euroleague Championships in 2006 and 2008 and four consecutive Russian SuperLeague titles from 2006–09 before a brief appearance with the Spanish League’s Real Madrid—sparking his jump to the NBA as coaching consultant for the Los Angeles Lakers in 2011–12. After a two-year reprisal of his head coaching role with CSKA Moscow, he found his way the Silver and Black’ sidelines in 2014.