The former Louisville coach said he was finished coaching in September.

By Kaelen Jones
December 20, 2018

Former Louisville basketball coach has reportedly agreed in principle to become head coach of Panathinaikos B.C. of the EuroLeague, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.

On Thursday, Panathinaikos reportedly fired head coach Xavi Pascual just hours after the Athens-based club suffered an 89–68 loss to Real Madrid. Panathinaikos dropped to 6–7 this season and 10th in the EuroLeague standings.

According to GetMoreSports.com's Chris Sheridan, dialogue between Pitino and Panathinaikos regarding the vacancy took place a few hours after it became available.

Pitino, 66, last coached in October 2017, when he was at Louisville. His coaching career abruptly came to a halt when the Cardinals fired him following a federal investigation into bribery and corruption in college basketball. Pitino had been linked to an investigation through Adidas, which allegedly paid $100,000 to the family of former recruit Brian Bowen to convince him to attend Louisville.

During an interview in September, Pitino said, "I'm finished with coaching."

Pitino, a Naismith Hall of Famer, owns a 770–271 career record as a Division-I head coach. He has previous experience coaching professional basketball, having served with the New York Knicks (1987-1989) and the Boston Celtics (1997-2001).

Per Wojnarowski, Pitino's goal is to return to the NBA as a head coach and considers coaching pro basketball in Europe a steppingstone to doing so.

Pitino will reportedly fly to Athens shortly after Christmas to take over at Panathinaikos, whose roster features Nick Calathes, Georgios Papagiannis and Thanasis Antetokounmpo, the older brother of Bucks star Giannis.

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