Rick Pitino Won't Return to Panathinaikos; Wants NBA Coaching, Front-Office Job

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistJune 21, 2019

MADRID, SPAIN - APRIL 17: Rick Pitino during the EuroLeague Play Off match between Real Madrid and Panathinaiskos on April 17, 2019 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Sonia Canada/Getty Images)
Sonia Canada/Getty Images

Hall of Fame basketball coach Rick Pitino said Friday that he turned down an offer to return as president and head coach of Panathinaikos in the Greek League, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.

Pitino released a statement Friday in which he thanked Panathinaikos and its fans:

Rick Pitino @RealPitino


Per Wojnarowski, Pitino added that he wants to pursue a job in the NBA as a head coach or in a player personnel or advisory role.

In his only season with Panathinaikos, Pitino led the team to a win over PAOK in the Greek Basketball Cup final.

The 66-year-old Pitino was the head men's basketball coach at Louisville from 2001 to 2017. During that time, he led the Cardinals to 13 NCAA tournament appearances, three Final Fours and one championship, although two Final Four appearances and the national title were vacated because of recruiting violations.

Pitino's tenure at Louisville ended in disgrace when the University of Louisville Athletic Association voted to terminate him because of his involvement in the recruitment of 5-star forward Brian Bowen, whose family was allegedly paid $100,000 by an Adidas representative to ensure his commitment to Louisville.

Prior to Louisville, Pitino was the head coach at Boston University, Providence and Kentucky. He led Kentucky to a national title in 1996 and had three other Final Four appearances with the Wildcats.

Pitino also has head coaching experience in the NBA, although his level of success fell far short of what he accomplished in college.

In two seasons as head coach of the New York Knicks from 1987 to 1989, he went 90-74 with two playoff appearances and one playoff series win. He then coached the Boston Celtics for parts of four seasons from 1997 to 2001. Pitino went just 102-146 with the Celtics, failed to reach the playoffs and resigned during the 2000-01 campaign.

Overall, Pitino is 192-220 as an NBA head coach.

There are currently no NBA head coaching openings, which means a player personnel or advisory job may be his best chance at returning to the NBA in the immediate future.