Ever since the Utah Jazz decided not to renew the head coaching contract of Tyrone Corbin on Monday, there has been a lot of speculation about who will replace him on the sidelines next season. One of the most intriguing names that has come up is Ettore Messina, who is a coaching legend in Europe.
We are going to be bringing you coaching profiles on all the candidates until we have a coach lined up. Today, we start with Messina and look a little closer at his coaching history.
Messina started his head coaching duties for Virtus Bologna in Italy in 1989. He stayed there head coach all the way up until 2002. He did leave for a short period of time, however, between 1994-1997. Over his course there, Messina posted a record of 204-68, a .753 winning percentage. Messina never had a losing season with Virtus Bologna and guided them to the playoffs every season he was with them. With Virtus Bologna, Messina won the Italian Cup in 1990, 1999, 2001, and 2002.
After his stint with Virtus Bologna, he went to another Italian team, Bennetton. He was there coach from 2002-2005, where he guided them to the playoffs all three seasons. All three seasons with Bennetton, Messina won the Italian National Cup as well as winning Italian Coach of the Year in 2005.
One of Messina’s best coaching gigs was after he left Bennetton and headed to CSKA Moscow (Russia). Over the course of his coaching gig from 2005-2009, Messina only lost a total of six games during their regular seasons. Messina guided CSKA Moscow to two Russian National Cups in 2006 and 2007. Messina’s work with Moscow earned him Aleksander Gomelski Euroleague Coach of the Year honors in both 2006 and 2008.
Messina went on to coach Real Madrid and also went back to CSKA, where he is currently at now. Messina also spent the 2011 season with the Los Angeles Lakers as an assistant coach.
Messina is a proven winner, as you can see by his coaching record of 760-218 (including playoffs and Euroleage – Eurocup). He came over and spent a short period of time in the NBA and got to see how the game is played up close and personal here. Rumors say that Messina has a desire to coach in the NBA next season after he finishes up his season now with CSKA Moscow.
The Jazz need a proven winner like Messina. They need a guy who knows how to coach and be a leader, like Messina. Messina’s coaching philosophies are something the Jazz could use. In a recent question and answer session with Euroleague.net, Messina had this to say about his personal preferences regarding offenses and so forth.
I don’t have a preference for set plays or motion offense because I think that the most important thing is to have balance in your offense: ball movement, players movement and balance in the sense to have the ball reversal or to play inside/outside; throw the ball inside to the low post and then throw it out to get good shots. So, I think that you can get and you must get these four things in whatever kind of offense you run, depending on the players that you have.
Messina is at the top of my personal list for guys I want to see coaching the Jazz next season, and hopefully for seasons beyond that. He looks to be pretty loyal to wherever he is coaching, as you can see by him staying put for longer periods of time than most coaches get to. With the desire that he has to come coach in the NBA next season, the possibility that he could come to Utah is very real, however, plenty of other teams in the league will be calling for him if they know he’s available.