After leading CSKA Moscow to yet another Turkish Airlines Euroleague Final Four appearance and a VTB league title this season, Ettore Messina is leaving the club. The Italian coach who is one of today’s brightest basketball minds has informed the team that he will be opting out of his contract. The separation is an amicable one with both sides expressing nothing but gratitude and respect for each other.
“We are celebrating the end of a victorious season but feel sad at the same time. Ettore Messina, the most successful coach in CSKA’s modern history, is leaving. We have to start many things from scratch,” CSKA president and CEO Andrei Vatutin said. “On behalf of the club and myself, I would like to express my gratitude and admiration. Ettore will always be a part of our family.”
Messina has four Euroleague titles and Euroleague Coach-of-the-Year awards under his belt to go along with five Russian league championships and four Italian league titles. It has hard to imagine that the 54-year-old Messina and his wealth of knowledge about the game will stray too far from a hardwood court. He has been mentioned several times as a short-list candidate to coach an NBA team, but has yet to have been offered the position. A position on the coaching staff of one of the reorganizing NBA clubs could be in his future. Whether or not it is as head coach or not will remain to be seen.