Pitino will replace Xavi Pascual on the team’s bench, as the latter parted ways with the club on Thursday.
The legendary Rick Pitino, who is also a member of the Basketball Hall of Fame, is expected to arrive in Athens around Christmas. He will coach his first game against CSKA Moscow on December 28.
Pitino had fantastic coaching career in college basketball. He won two national championships (1996 and 2013) and reached five Final Fours. In addition, he has a 647-392 overall record. However, the 66-year-old Pitino was fired a year ago amid an FBI probe at Louisville.
The FBI probe was the final in a series of scandals at Louisville. These included an NCAA investigation into strippers and prostitutes used in recruiting visits with players at the school.
Now, Rick Pitino comes to Europe and will attempt to adapt to a completely different playing style. And that during a running season. In Greece of all places.
He will coach a team that is currently dealing with a lot of issues. Panathinaikos had a mediocre start of the season and suffered painful defeats.
They lost to Armami Milano at home on Friday (83-86) and suffered their fifth defeat in the last six games.
Arturas Gudaitis led the the winners in scoring (20 points). Nick Calathes made another great performance for the losing squad (24 points, 11 assists).
Rick Pitino will have to immediately turn things around, as the “Greens” have a very difficult schedule from January until mid-March.
In these two months, the Greek giants will play eight games on the road and just three at home.
Consequently, Panathinaikos will need to earn big victories on the road, if they want to maintain a playoff candidate.
Rick Pitino has a very difficult job to do. To be successful, he should change the situation and lead the club to the playoffs and the Final Four.