Coach Rick Pitino had parted ways with Panathinaikos OPAP Athens through an announcement on social media on Friday night. Pitino joined the team midway through the 2018-19 season, replacing Xavi Pascual, and led the Greens to the Greek double - league and cup titles. Pitino also took Panathinaikos to the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague playoffs, losing against Real Madrid. It was Coach Pitino's first experience in European basketball after a legendary career in the United States, both in the NBA and in college, that made him a Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame honoree. He was the first coach to win NCAA Championships with two schools: the University of Kentucky and the University of Louisville. He was also the first to guide three teams to the NCAA Final Four, having led Providence College to that stage, too. Altogether, Pitino took his teams to seven final fours. Pitino spent a total of 31 seasons coaching four schools. He also coached six seasons in the NBA with New York and Boston. Pitino was also the head coach of the Puerto Rico national team. He was enshrined in the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2013.
"The past year has been incredible. I'd like to thank all of the Panathinaikos players and their terrific efforts. Thanks to my staff for their loyalty and dedication. Thank you to our passionate owner and GM. Lastly, thanks to the great people of Greece for your over the top kindness and hospitality. Such an awesome country that will always hold a place in my heart," Coach Pitino said in a farewell tweet. "I will miss you all greatly but I am returning home and looking forward to the next chapter in my life."