ATHENS — Rick Pitino has agreed to coach the Greek national basketball team and lead the country’s effort to qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
The Greek basketball federation said Friday that Pitino will be officially presented on Monday, when details of his agreement will be announced.
“Really honored to be coaching the Greek National team,” Pitino wrote on Twitter. “Have a lot of work and preparation ahead but I’m looking forward to the challenge.”
Really honored to be coaching the Greek National team. Have a lot of work and preparation ahead but I’m looking forward to the challenge.
— Rick Pitino (@RealPitino) November 8, 2019
The 67-year-old American coached Greek club Panathinaikos last season and guided the team to victory in the country’s cup competition before returning to the United States. He remains popular among Greek fans despite his outspoken criticism of smoking and rowdy behavior by spectators at games.
NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo and his brother Thanasis Antetokounmpo both play for Greece and the Milwaukee Bucks.
The Greeks narrowly missed out on reaching the quarterfinals at the World Cup in China in September.
Pitino spent much of his career jumping between the college ranks and the NBA, coaching the Boston Celtics and the New York Knicks as well as Kentucky and Louisville.