San Antonio Spurs lose another assistant in Ettore Messina

SAN ANTONIO, TX - MARCH 28: Assistant Coach Ettore Messina of the San Antonio Spurs speaks with the media before the game against the Cleveland Cavaliers on March 28, 2019 at the AT&T Cente in San Antonio, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photos by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)
SAN ANTONIO, TX - MARCH 28: Assistant Coach Ettore Messina of the San Antonio Spurs speaks with the media before the game against the Cleveland Cavaliers on March 28, 2019 at the AT&T Cente in San Antonio, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photos by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)
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The San Antonio Spurs’ assistant coaches have been in high demand, as they are during most offseasons, and they’ve now lost two of their top assistants as Ettore Messina heads to Italy.

Former San Antonio Spurs assistant coaches have gone on to have great success after learning from the greatest coach of all-time in Gregg Popovich.

Some notable names on Popovich’s coaching tree include Doc Rivers, Mike Budenholzer, Mike Brown, Monty Williams, and Brett Brown.

Brett Brown already swiped away one of Pop’s top assistants as he hired Ime Udoka to replace Monty Williams as his right hand man in Philadelphia, and now the Spurs have also lost Ettore Messina to a head coaching job in Italy.

Messina began his coaching career in Italy with Virtus Bologna in 1989 and was then hired to coach the Italian national team in 1993.

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After four years with the Italian national team, Messina returned to Virtus Bologna in 1997 and coached for a few different European squads winning four Euroleague titles, five Italian League titles, and five Russian League titles before getting his first job in the NBA as a consultant for the Lakers in 2011.

Messina returned to Europe after two seasons with the Lakers before Gregg Popovich brought him to San Antonio as one of his assistants in 2014.

Messina was forced into an interim head coaching role for two different stints while Pop tended to the health of his wife, including a first round playoff series against the Warriors after Pop’s wife tragically passed away.

The Italian drew some interest for NBA head coaching positions over the past couple of offseasons, but he was unable to ultimately secure one of those 30 prestigious jobs.

Messina’s new job in Italy gives him the title of head coach and director of basketball operations with Olimpia Milano, which was described as a “very big opportunity” for the former Spurs assistant.

Messina’s exit leaves Becky Hammon, Chip Engelland, and Will Hardy as the only remaining assistants on Gregg Popovich’s staff.

With Messina and Udoka gone, Hammon will move into an even more prominent place on the Spurs’ bench as she continues her historic climb up the coaching ranks.

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Messina’s experience and expertise will be sorely missed as Pop needs to rebuild his coaching staff yet again in San Antonio.

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