Rick Pitino is ready to leave Greece to pursue a job in the NBA.
The Hall of Fame coach announced on Twitter that he will not return to Panathinaikos after leading the team to a Greek League championship.
“This past year has been incredible,” Pitino wrote, in part. “I’d like to thank all of the PAO players and their terrific efforts. Thanks to my staff for their loyalty and dedication. … I will miss you all greatly but I am returning home and looking forward to the next chapter in my life.”
— Rick Pitino (@RealPitino) June 21, 2019
What will the “next chapter” look like for Pitino?
He told ESPN on Friday he wants pursue a full-time job in the NBA — whether that be a coaching position, a player personnel job or an advisory role.
“I just want to be a part of an organization,” Pitino said last October. “I want to develop young players. I want to be part of a team. I miss it terribly. I’m using this time to really study the NBA. If something opens up with a young basketball team, I’d have deep interest in it.
“I think the league is going to get younger and player development will become even more important to every organization. That’s my forte. I believe I can help an organization find a pathway to success.”
Pitino, 66, won NCAA titles at Kentucky and Louisville as he led his teams to seven Final Fours and earned conference titles in the Big East, SEC and ACC.
But his tenure at Louisville ended in disgrace when he was dismissed amid the program’s alleged involvement in the college basketball recruiting scandal that was investigated by the FBI. It was the latest in a series of controversies around Pitino during his time at the school, leading to Louisville’s national title and two Final Four appearances being vacated.
Pitino does already have some experience in the NBA. He was head coach of the Knicks from 1987-89 before taking over the Celtics in 1997. He resigned early into his fourth season with Boston, and never enjoyed the same success in the NBA as he did in college basketball.