Bobcat women hire Coppa as assistant

BOZEMAN — Salvo Coppa, who recently served as head coach of the Thailand National Team and as a volunteer assistant with the WNBA’s Seattle Storm, has been named assistant coach at Montana State, announced Bobcat women’s basketball coach Tricia Binford, Monday afternoon.

“When we started searching for a new assistant coach we wanted to get someone with a great basketball mind, someone who could recruit, and also skilled in player development,” Binford said. “I feel like Salvo is very capable in all three areas. He has great connections in Europe and his family is very well respected in Italian professional basketball. He has had great success as a head coach and brings in an exciting defensive philosophy that matches our style. Salvo also has experience developing the most elite athletes in the world, including players in the WNBA.”

As a volunteer assistant with the Seattle Storm last summer, Coppa served as a consultant to the head coach and was responsible for special situational plays. He also worked in player development and mentored various WNBA players.

As head coach of the Thailand National Team, he led the squad to gold medals at the South Eastern Asian Games; the Thai Open Tournament and the Indonesian Open in 2011. During the 2010-11 season, Coppa was head coach of Ecocontrol Priolo and posted an Italian League Champion franchise best 18-2 record. In 2007 he also captured the gold medal with the Maltese National team at the FIBA European championship for small nations.

From 2002-210, Coppa served as an associate head coach with G.S. Trogylos Priolo, a professional Italian Division I team under the leadership of his father, Santino Coppa. Coppa has also served as head coach for Sicilia Basketball, 2010; G.S. Trogylos Priolo Junior Team, 2006-11; and the Malta National Team U-18, 2006-08.

“I am honored to be a part of Montana State women’s basketball program,” Coppa said. “Coach Binford is an extremely talented coach that has built a successful program that I cannot wait to be a part of. I coached for over ten years in Europe and Asia and to coach in the NCAA at the division 1 level represents a new challenge and a great chance to grow. It is a great opportunity for me to use my connections in Europe and bring my international experience to this program.  I believe in Coach Binford’s vision and know that we have the potential to do some great things in Bozeman with the Bobcats. I am very excited and motivated. I am looking forward to this opportunity.”

Coppa received his bachelor’s degree in business communication and public relations/advertising from IULM University Milan, Italy in 2002. He is married to current University of Washington assistant coach Adia Barnes. Barnes is the leading scorer in the history of University of Arizona women’s basketball. She was the first Wildcat women’s basketball All American; was a three- time all-conference selection; and Pac-10 player of the year in 1997-98. Barnes also had a 12-year professional career that included a WNBA championship with the Seattle Storm in 2004 and extensive overseas experience with stops in the Ukraine, Israel, Turkey, Russia and Italy.

Coppa replaces Mandy Close, who served five seasons at Montana State. Close recently became an assistant coach at her alma mater, Oregon State.

“Mandy brought so much to MSU with her commitment and passion for the game and we will miss her,” Binford said. “She gave so much to our student-athletes and community these past five years and know this is a great opportunity for her.”

Coppa will begin his duties at Montana State on June 24.

— MSU Sports Information