Euroleague Basketball is proud to announce that CSKA Moscow head coach Ettore Messina is the Aleksander Gomelskiy Coach of the Year Trophy winner for the 2007-08 season. In just his third season in Moscow, Messina led the club to its third straight appearance in the Euroleague title game and second Euroleague title in that span by topping Maccabi Tel Aviv in the 2008 Euroleague Basketball Final Four in Madrid. One of the great minds of modern basketball, Messina becomes the first person to win the Aleksander Gomelskiy Coach of the Year Trophy twice after winning the award in 2006 as well. Messina was voted the winner of the award by a combined panel of his peers, the 24 coaches who finished the Euroleague's 2007-08 season.
Messina’s accomplishments since joining CSKA in 2005 have cemented his status among the great coaches of all time. He was named as one of the 50 legends for the 50 Years of European Club Basketball celebration this season even before he lifted his fourth Euroleague crown, placing him in a tie with greats Pedro Ferrandiz, Aleksandr Gomelskiy and Bozidar Maljkovic for the second most Euroleague titles. Zeljko Obradovic, the 2007 Aleksander Gomelskiy Coach of the Year Trophy winner, leads that list with six titles. Messina is also the only coach to win multiple Euroleague crowns with two teams. He won his first two with Virtus Bologna in 1998 and 2001.
The Aleksander Gomelskiy Coach of the Year Trophy pays tribute to the Russian coaching legend, who was the winning coach of the first-ever Euroleague title. Gomelskiy, the father of basketball in the Soviet Union and Russia, led CSKA to its last Euroleague crown before Messina arrived, in 1971. He passed in 2005 at age 77, shortly after Messina was hired by CSKA. The award has been handed out to the best coach of the Euroleague Basketball season as voted by his peers since 2005.
Messina led CSKA to another remarkable campaign last season. The club won seven straight games at one point en route to winning its regular season and Top 16 groups, despite injuries that forced rotation tinkering and roster changes during the season. The club faced adversity after losing the first game of the best-of-three Quarterfinal Playoffs at home against Olympiacos – a loss that also ended the club’s Euroleague record 27-game home-court winning streak, all under Messina’s watch – but Messina calmly guided his team back to win Game 2 in Greece and then Game 3 handily at home for CSKA’s sixth consecutive trip to the Euroleague Basketball Final Four. He capped the season by winning the Russian championship in a sweep over Khimki.