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Gregg Popovich will not coach San Antonio Spurs after his wife's death



Gregg Popovich, whose wife Erin died on Wednesday, will not play the third game of the San Antonio Spurs play-off series on Thursday night.

Spurs assistant coach Ettore Messina will provide Popovich against the Golden State Warriors [194559005]

Erin Popovich died early Wednesday at the age of 67. She fought a long time against a disease. The couple was married for four decades and had two children – Jill and Mickey – as well as two grandchildren.

"We are all suffering a deep loss for a really important member of our family and our team," Spurs CEO RC Buford said Thursday. "Erin and Gregg have been the best of friends for 40 years, and Erin's influence and impact on our organization, our families, our players and their families will be felt for many years to come.

" I have pop spoken tomorrow. He is overwhelmed by the support. He is very grateful for the love shared with our group and with him and his family and Erin's family. As you would expect from Pop, he wants us to focus on the game today, this series, and that's what it's all about today. We will miss Erin a lot, and the focus of our team will be on supporting Pop. But we have basketball again. "

Popovich, who had won five NBA titles since his coaching in 1

996, led the Spurs training on Wednesday.

Golden State has a 2-0 lead in the national team's Best-of-Seven series.

ESPN's Michael C. Wright contributed to this report.


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