SAN ANTONIO (CBS SF& AP) — San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, whose wife passed away Wednesday, will not be on the bench when his team takes on the Golden State Warriors for Game 3 of their NBA playoff series.
The team announced Thursday that assistant coach Ettore Messina will be at the helm.
Popovich’s wife — Erin — died Wednesday after a lenghty illness. She was 67.
“We mourn the loss of Erin,” Spurs general manager RC Buford said in a team statement. “She was a strong, wonderful, kind, intelligent woman who provided love, support and humor to all of us.”
Golden State coach Steve Kerr was at a loss for words on Thursday. Meanwhile, Kevin Durant was emotion when talking about Popovich’s loss.
“Prayers and condolences go out to his family,” Durant said.
Injured Warriors star Steph Curry also posted his condolences on social media.
The Popovichs have two children and two grandchildren. They met at the Air Force Academy in the 1970s when he was an assistant coach for the Falcons. Erin’s father, Jim Conboy, was Air Force’s head athletic trainer.
Gregg Popovich has coached San Antonio since 1996, leading the Spurs to five NBA titles. San Antonio will face Golden State on Thursday night in Game 3 of their first-round playoff series.
Popovich ran the Spurs’ practice Wednesday. The Warriors lead the series 2-0.