Panathinaikos BC began a new era with the announcement Monday that one of its former players, Argiris Pedoulakis, will coach the team for the next two seasons. Pedoulakis, 48, is an experienced Greek coach who was a star shooting guard for the Greens during his playing days. He has spent the past two seasons coaching his boyhood club, Peristeri Athens. In his first stint on the Peristeri bench, he guided the club in the Euroleague in the 2000-01 and 2001-02 seasons. Among the players he coached then were the late, great Alphonso Ford and young forward Kostas Tsartsaris, with whom he will be reunited at Panathinaikos. In the first of those seasons, Peristeri finished second in its Euroleague regular season group and placed second in the Greek League. Pedoulakis has since coached Makedonikos, Panellinios, Rethimno, PAOK and ΑΕΚ Athens. He guided Makedonikos to the 2005 ULEB Cup final, where they lost to Lietuvos Rytas.
Pedoulakis debuted as a player with Peristeri as a teenager in 1977 and spent nine seasons there, during which he was called up to the Greek national team and partook in the 1986 World Championships in Spain. That year he also signed for Panathinaikos and spent six seasons with the Greens. He rejoined Peristeri in 1993 and played there two more seasons before he retired and joined the coaching staff as an assistant. Pedoulakis replaces Panathinaikos legend Zeljko Obradovic, who coached the team for 13 years and won 11 Greek League titles – including 10 in a row until last season – seven Greek Cup trophies and five Euroleague crowns (2000, 2002, 2007, 2009 and 2011).
In his first public comments after the signing, Pedoulakis addressed his team’s fans:
"I know that I become a member of the most successful team in the history of Greek sports. This became possible through the presence of Pavlos and Thanassis Yannakopoulos and their passion and generosity for the team for more than 25 years. I had the chance to experience that as a Panathinaikos player. On the other hand there was Zeljko Obradovic, the best and most successful coach in Europe. Now, under different circumstances, circumstances that we all share in our daily life, with basketball being a part of our society, we need to stay competitive in all competitions. The presence of the Yannakopoulos family, through Dimitris Yannakopoulos, guarantees the smooth running of Panathinaikos basketball. We know that we don’t have the credit of time, because Panathinaikos is a great team, but what we ask is to be judged at the end of the season, since everything is new. The one thing that doesn’t change is the fans of the team. Without the fans we cannot do anything, with the fans we can do everything. That’s why we ask for the fans' support."