Panathinaikos BC OPAP announces the deal with the coach Rick Pitino, until the end of the season.
Rick Pitino, (born September 18, 1952, New York, New York, U.S.), was the first head coach to win a men’s National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I national championship with two different schools (the University of Kentucky in 1996 and the University of Louisville in 2013). However, his 2013 title was later vacated by Louisville after an NCAA investigation into improper benefits for athletes.
Pitino played basketball at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and became a graduate assistant coach at the University of Hawaii soon after his graduation in 1974. He served two seasons as an assistant coach at Syracuse University (1976–78) before getting his first head-coaching job, at Boston University in 1978 at age 25.
In 1982–83 he led the school to its first appearance in the NCAA tournament in 24 years and then left at the end of the season to become an assistant coach with the New York Knicks of the National Basketball Association (NBA).
Pitino became the head coach at Providence College in 1985. In his second season of leading the program, he guided the Friars on a Cinderella run to the NCAA tournament that ended in a loss in the national semifinals. The distinction of this Final Four appearance helped land Pitino the head-coaching position with the Knicks in 1987. There, during the 1988–89 season, he again oversaw a second-year breakthrough, and the Knicks went on to win their first division title in 18 years. However, Pitino clashed with the Knicks’ front office, and in 1989 when he was offered a chance to coach the storied University of Kentucky basketball program, he returned to the college game.
During Pitino’s first two years at the school, Kentucky was under NCAA sanctions that had originated with the previous coaching regime, but he nevertheless led the Wildcats to a Final Four appearance in the second NCAA tournament for which the team was eligible under him. He later guided Kentucky to an NCAA title in 1996 and into the national championship game again the following year (a loss). In 1997 he became the head coach and director of basketball operations for the NBA’s Boston Celtics, signing what was then the most lucrative coaching contract in league history.
Pitino returned to the college ranks and took the University of Louisville head-coaching position in 2001. He guided the school to appearances in the Final Four in 2005 and 2012. Louisville won a school-record 35 games in 2012–13, and in the postseason Pitino won his second career NCAA championship.
Pitino was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2013.