CSKA Moscow officially announced today it has parted ways with head coach Ettore Messina, the most successful head coach in the club's modern history. Messina had informed the club in February of his decision to opt out of his contract with CSKA at the end of the season. The move came at the end Messina’s second stint with the Russian powerhouse. He steps down after two seasons during which he led the club to two Turkish Airlines Euroleague Final Four appearances, a pair of VTB League titles and a Russian Championship. Messina is ranked second all-time among Euroleague head coaches with four titles won, two of them with CSKA, in 2006 and 2008, among nine continental finals he has reached with three different clubs.
"We had six great years together," Messina said in a statement. "I was honored to be a part of this great club and I wish CSKA the best of luck in the future."
Messina, 54, is a two-time Alexander Gomelskiy Euroleague Coach of the Year Trophy winner. In his first, near-perfect stay in the Russian capital between 2005 and 2009, he and CSKA won the Euroleague twice and lost the other two title games by 2 points each. Messina also led CSKA to four Russian League titles and lifted the Russian Cup trophy twice during that period. Messina had previously won his two other Euroleague titles with Kinder Bologna in 1998 and 2001 and had also reached the title games with Kinder in 1999 and 2002, and with Benetton Treviso in 2003.
"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 also was a head coach with Real Madrid, from 2009 through March 2011, and has worked with the Los Angeles Lakers in the NBA as a consultant-assistant coach. On his resume, Messina also has 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.