Former Louisville Cardinals head coach Rick Pitino is ready to get back into coaching. After lobbying for a gig in the NBA following his firing from Louisville, Pitino has reportedly agreed to a deal with European powerhouse Panathinaikos in Athens, Greece.
The Hall of Fame coach will reportedly make his coaching debut with the club after Christmas.
Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.com was first to report the news.
“Naismith Hall of Fame coach Rick Pitino is finalizing a deal to become head coach of EuroLeague power Panathinaikos of Greece, sources told ESPN,” Woj wrote on Twitter.
“A formal agreement is expected soon, sources told ESPN. Pitino is expected to travel to Athens and coach his first game shortly after Christmas. Pitino’s goal has remained to return to the NBA, and this deal’s term will be for the rest of the season.”
From the report:
Panathinkaikos has started 6-7 in the EuroLeague, leaving the team in 10th place. The team’s owner, Dimitrios Giannakopoulos, has a volcanic reputation in Europe. He was fined $150,000 Euros in 2015 for barging into the referee’s room and threatening to kill the officials and their families — after a playoff victory over CSKA Moscow.
Panathinkaikos’ roster includes Nick Calathes, Georgios Papagiannis, Keith Langford, Deshaun Thomas, James Gist and the older brother of Milwaukee Bucks superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo, Thanasis.
Throughout its history, Panathinaikos has recorded six Euro League championships, 18 Greek Cups, 1 FIBA Intercontinental Cup, and a whopping 36 Greek Championships.
Rick Pitino was one of the top head coaches in college basketball, but he was fired by the Louisville Cardinals with just cause amid the FBI’s ongoing investigation into corruption in the sport and reports that Pitino knew of payment to top recruits. Pitino has consistently denied the allegations.