Greek club Panathinaikos hires former NBA coach Pitino

AFP
Rick Pitino, pictured in 2017, will join the Greek club Panathinaikos (AFP Photo/AL BELLO)
Rick Pitino, pictured in 2017, will join the Greek club Panathinaikos (AFP Photo/AL BELLO)

Athens (AFP) - Former NBA coach Rick Pitino has been hired by Panathinaikos for the rest of this season, the Greek club announced Wednesday.

The 66-year-old Pitino, a former coach of the Boston Celtics and New York Knicks, was fired by the University of Louisville in October 2017 after a pay for play recruiting scandal.

He coached the New York Knicks for two seasons from 1987-1989 and then took over a scandal-hit University of Kentucky program and delivered a 1996 national US college crown.

In 1997, Pitino returned to the NBA with the Celtics as team president and coach but could only guide the club to one winning season before resigning and taking over at Louisville in 2001.

The Cardinals won a national championship in 2013, the same year Pitino was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame, but Louisville later vacated the title due to recruiting violations.

Panathinaikos are undefeated in the Greek league this season through nine games, but a return of six wins from 14 games in the Euroleague led to the dismissal of Spanish coach Xavi Pascual.

The Athens club has won the Euroleague title six times -- the third most behind Real Madrid (10) and CSKA Moscow (seven).

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