The funeral of Ezio Cardaioli, the first coach to lead Mens Sana in Serie A in the ’72’73 season, master and giant of Sienese and national basketball, who passed away last Friday, will be held tomorrow in the Contrada della Selva church at 10.30am. There were many messages of condolence as well as memories from those who knew the talents of the ‘Prof’, as a former physical education teacher. The FIP, which observed a minute of silence in every match of the weekend, issued a note of condolence on behalf of president Gianni Petrucci and national basketball. Mens Sana and the youth teams involved in the Eybl tournament played in mourning uniforms. Polisportiva itself, on behalf of president Antonio Saccone, expressed sorrow. There are many posts about Cardaioli on social media. The sports councilor of the Municipality of Siena, Lorenzo Lorè, speaks of “a great Sienese, he wrote pages of history”, while the General Manager of Mens Sana Riccardo Caliani cited anecdotes and episodes that link him to the figure of Cardaioli. Valerio Bianchini recalled the “headaches” that attacked him when he had to face “his diabolical zones”: “He passed on his love for basketball to generations”. Giuseppe Nigro, journalist who with Cardaioli wrote ‘From amateur basketball to Serie A. Round trip’, described Cardaioli as “one of the greatest coaches in Italian basketball. A loyal and principled person”. “A master who knew how to read every game. But also a true professor and a man with solid moral principles”, writes the former president of Mens Sana Basket, Roberto Morrocchi. “You said three things that changed the perception of our sport”, said former Mens Sana coach Alessandro Ramagli. Then the memories of the former green and white flags: Maurizio Lasi, Virtus coach, defined Cardaiaoli as a “special person”. “Extraordinary to deal with you,” wrote Letterio Visigalli. “A great help in my years in Siena”, echoed Stefano Vidili. “I can’t forget the cat’s paw,” Diego Pastori finally wrote. And the Costone also mourns Cardaioli. From a very young age he attended the ancient recreation center where he took his first steps as a basketball player. Also on the Costone Ezio met Giovanna, his inseparable life partner. Then, at the beginning of the 1950s, the transfer to Mens Sana, thanks to Professor Bruno Casini. Cardaioli collaborated with the Costone teams on several occasions: in the 9293 season, in Serie B, he joined Sandro Zani as a technical consultant, while at the end of the 90s he gave a contribution to women’s basketball. In June 2000 he was among the guests of honor at the celebrations for the promotion of Costone women to Serie A2. In June 2021 Costone invited him to the PalaOrlandi for the Tournament dedicated to Don Bonci and Giorgio Brenci: he followed the finals alongside Roberto Chiacig. Both wildcats, they were linked by deep friendship. Now we want to think of them up there, together again.
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