Ettore Messina says he never would have left San Antonio just to coach Olimpia Milano, GM role won him over
Former San Antonio Spurs assistant coach Ettore Messina has recently shed some light on his decision to move back to his native of Italy to resume what has been a legendary coaching career in Europe.
Speaking to Eurohoops, Messina explained that the opportunity to lead Italian LBA outfit Olimpia Milano as the team’s president was what ultimately led to his decision to turn his back on a five-year career under Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich.
“I would have never accepted a role just as head coach of Milano“, said Messina. “I have accepted because I was offered also the role of president of basketball operations.”
The 59-year-old Italian then went on to describe how much of an honor it has been for him to have been able to work with one of the greatest coaches of all time in Popovich.
“I’m looking for my [San Antonio Spurs general manager] RC Buford so I can do just what Pop does: coaching. I was lucky enough to work with the best of them all. Popovich has a sixth one sense in assessing when you have to push or not. With him, I figured out how to keep a team always at a high level. After five years under coach Gregg Popovich, I wanted to be a head coach again And I don’t deny that having the opportunity to be able to do things with the right people was a great stimulus”.
Messina is widely regarded as one of the most outstanding coaches in Europe, and he has basically won it all over there. His stint in the NBA — albeit short-lived — is definitely something he learned a lot from, which should make him an even more amazing coach once he returns home.