Messina Back At CSKA Helm

19 June 2012

Ettore Messina
After a year as an assistant coach at the LA Lakers, Ettore Messina returns to the hot seat and the CSKA bench next to him will be full of some of Europe's brightest stars

Ettore Messina brought the good times in Europe back to CSKA Moscow when he was appointed coach of the club several years ago.

Now the famous Italian tactician has been put back in charge of the club that is still nursing a hangover from its second-half collapse in the Turkish Airlines Euroleague Final against Olympiacos on 13 May.

Messina, who steered CSKA to a couple of Euroleague titles in his four-year spell, has replaced Jonas Kazlauskas at the helm on a three-year contract.

His return has been the subject of media speculation for weeks and now the club has confirmed he will be in charge once again.

"As it was in 2005, the invitation of Ettore Messina is a momentous event for us," said CSKA president Andrey Vatutin.

"For the Board to sign Messina was one of the strategic priorities during the formation of the club for the coming season, the key to a new three-year program.

"The head coach does not need time to adapt - he will start working immediately.

"At the same time he will have to start all over again, because Ettore takes over a completely different team which he will have to create."

When Messina arrived for the first time in 2005, CSKA had not won a title in Europe's most prestigious competition since 1971.

At the 2006 Final Four in Prague, that drought ended when Messina coached a team that included Theo Papaloukas to the championship with a victory over Maccabi Tel Aviv in the final.

Two years later in Madrid, he steered the club to another Euroleague crown.

He left in 2009 after a four-year stint, though, and coached for one and a half seasons at Real Madrid.

While he did a good job at Madrid, he was never happy with his situation at the club and left in March of 2011 after steering the team into the Euroleague Quarter-Finals.

Greece Head Coach Jonas Kazlauskas
CSKA said in a statement that they have no complaints about the work of departing coach Jonas Kazlauskas

Madrid then beat Valencia Basket but lost both of their games at the Final Four.

Messina then accepted a position with the Los Angeles Lakers for the 2011-12 campaign to work as a consultant-assistant coach.

He has quickly returned to European coaching.

"Messina acquired a new and interesting experience in the post-CSKA period, including the NBA experience, and I am sure his new knowledge will be useful for CSKA," Vatutin said.

"I am glad that we have kept good relations and Messina's return is not associated with any kind of difficulty, in contrast, it is absolutely natural.

"At the same time it is very difficult to part with Jonas, an intelligent, decent man and an excellent coach.

"I want to emphasize that we have no complains for 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.

"Nevertheless, the Board adopted a new club three-year program, which provides a major renovation of the roster and coaching staff, the improvement of the reserves.

"I would like to sincerely thank Jonas and I wish him luck in his future career."

Messina has also coached Virtus Bologna to Euroleague glory, and led Benetton Treviso to numerous trophies.

He also served as coach of Italy's national team and guided the side to a silver medal at EuroBasket 1997 in Spain.



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