Euroleague Basketball joins the family of Italian and European basketball in remembering with fondness Romano Bertocchi, former president of Virtus Bologna, who passed away on Thursday at age 90.
Mr. Bertocchi, who was a long-time supporter of Virtus, a superfan by the time it won EuroLeague titles in 1998 and 2001, and later became club president from 2004 to 2011. He also published a magazine, Bianconero, dedicated to the club for many years. Mr Bertocchi was a constant and loyal backer, too, of Euroleague Basketball when it was formed to manage the continent's top competition in 2000, and an animated presence during the first season's finals, won by Virtus in five games.
Among Mr. Bertocchi's close friends in the sport was current AX Armani Exchange Milan head coach Ettore Messina, who built his legend at the helm of Virtus in two stints on the club's between 1989 and 2002, including both years that the club became continental champion.
"I started to notice him when I was an assistant coach and he was very agitated along the sidelines. When I got to know him personally he found out that my perception of him was correct. He was crazy for basketball, for the coaches and players, and for Virtus more than anything else," Coach Messina told the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera in its Friday editions. "I consider myself very fortunate to have had the chance to know him closely."