Rick Pitino will not return as head coach of Panathinaikos. The legendary coach turned down the contract extension proposal made by the Greens because he wants to return to the NBA in a coaching or advisory role. Pitino led Panathinaikos to EuroLeague playoffs and to Greek League Title. One week after leading Panathinaikos to a Greek League championship, Pitino announced Friday on Twitter that he would not return to the club for a second season.
“This past year has been incredible,” Pitino wrote. “I’d like to thank all of the PAO players and their terrific efforts. Thanks to my staff for their loyalty and dedication. Thank you to our passionate owner and GM. Lastly, thanks to the great people of Greece for your over the top kindness and hospitality. Such an awesome country that will always hold a place in my heart. I will miss you all greatly but I am returning home and looking forward to the next chapter in my life.”
Pitino was rumored to be linked to a number of college coaching vacancies this season, including St. John’s and UCLA, but the rumors never turned out to be true.
The Hall of Fame coach has expressed some interest in a possible return to the NBA, where he coached for the New York Knicks and Boston Celtics. His last NBA job was head coach of the Celtics in 2001.