After coming within seconds of winning the Turkish Airlines Euroleague title game, CSKA Moscow has replaced Jonas Kazlauskas with former coach Ettore Messina. CSKA announced on Tuesday that 52-year-old Ettore Messina will return as head coach as part of a three-year development plan adopted by the club's board.
Messina established himself as one of basketball's all-time great coaches during a hugely successful four-year spell with CSKA from 2005 to 2009. During his previous reign, CSKA won the Euroleague twice and lost the other two title games by only 2 points on each occasion. Messina returns to Moscow after spending two seasons with Real Madrid that ended in March last year when he stepped down prior to the Euroleague playoffs. He has since been working with the Los Angeles Lakers in the NBA as a consultant/assistant coach.
Messina has won four Euroleague titles having also taken Kinder Bologna to title game glory in 1998 and 2001. Perhaps even more impressively, Messina has reached Euroleague finals seven times with three different clubs and has never been beaten in the semi finals. He led Kinder to the title game in 1999 and 2002 and also reached the final with Benetton Treviso in 2003. Messina, a two-time Alexander Gomelskiy Euroleague Coach of the Year Trophy winner, also led CSKA to four Russian League titles and lifted the Russian Cup trophy twice. Messina has also won four Italian League and seven Italian Cup titles, the 1990 Saporta Cup with Virtus and won a silver medal at EuroBasket 1997 with the Italian national team.
CSKA president Andrey Vatutin was delighted to announce Messina’s appointment, whilst heaping praise on the efforts of Kazlauskas. Vatutin said that signing Messina was “the key to a new three-year program. At the same time it is very difficult to part with Jonas, intelligent, decent man and an excellent coach. I want to emphasise that we have no complains to his work - under the guidance of coach Kazlauskas CSKA had one of the most successful seasons in history, the team demonstrated spectacular basketball, young players were able to show themselves, to reach a new level.”
CSKA looked the likely winner of the title game, at one point pulling 19 points ahead. However, Olympiakos rallied bravely and won a dramatic game 62-61 in the final seconds. It was a stunning defeat for Moscow and they are clearly intent on returning even stronger next season. You can reserve your tickets for the Euroleague Final Four now with Ticket2Final.com and follow your team’s progress on our regular blog.