Rick Pitino returns to coaching internationally with Greek club Panathinaikos
Pitino previously coached Panathinaikos last season before leaving this summer to return to the states
Rick Pitino is returning to coach at a place where he won a title at, and it's not Louisville. The Hall of Fame coach confirmed on Twitter on Wednesday that he'll return to Greece to coach Panathinaikos, where he coached last season.
Pitino won the Greek Cup with the club earlier this spring in his first year on the job before leaving the team this summer to return stateside. In an exclusive interview with CBS Sports back in August, Pitino revealed the reasoning for his departure was rooted in assisting his son and new grandson, who was diagnosed with a rare form of epilepsy.
"I have a grandson who has a form of epilepsy," said Pitino. "There's only 300 people in the world who have this; he's one years old. I wanted to spend the next six months helping my son and daughter-in-law turn over every stone to find a great geneticist, to find out answers. It's so rare, I'm just trying to use all my connections I've made in my 40+ years in coaching to try and find a doctor that can help in some way.
"In six months from now, hopefully things will be better, and I'll return somewhere."
It took less than six months for that prophecy to be revealed. Panathinaikos needed a coach, Pitino needed a job -- in addition to his coaching duties with the Greek national team -- and the both came to an agreement.
Pitino led Panathinaikos to a 24-2 overall record in the Greek Basket League last season, best among all the clubs within the league, in addition to a 6-0 playoff record. Before his success overseas, he coached three different college basketball teams to five combined Final Four appearances, first with Providence in 1987 and culminating in 2013 with Louisville. He coached Kentucky to a national championship in 1996 and Louisville to a title in 2013. The 2013 championship has since been vacated by the NCAA.
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