Panathinaikos OPAP Athens announced that the legendary Rick Pitino, who coached the team most of last season, is coming back to the bench. Pitino, 67, replaces Argyris Pedoulakis, who was released a week ago. Pitino took the Greens to the EuroLeague Playoffs last season, falling to Real Madrid in a 3-0 sweep. He also led Panathinaikos to the Greek League and Greek Cup titles. Pitino made his EuroLeague debut last season in Round 15 after stepping in for the departed Xavi Pascual. In his first game, Panathinaikos defeated eventual champs CSKA Moscow by 96-84. His overall record was 10-9 in the EuroLeague. It was Coach Pitino's first experience in European basketball after a legendary career in the United States, both in the NBA and universities, that made him a Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame honoree.
Last summer, the Greens wanted Pitino to stay, but he turned down the offer. Now, the legendary coach is back in Athens to try to lift the Greens again. Just a few days prior to this announcement, Pitino was also officially named the new head coach of the Greek national team. Pitino is expected to make his EuroLeague return when Panathinaikos hosts KIROLBET Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz in Round 11.