American coach Rick Pitino has revealed his intention to lead Greece at next year’s International Basketball Federation Men’s Olympic Qualifying Tournaments.
Pitino confirmed his plans in a report by the New York Times as he looks to balance leading Greece with his coaching duties at Iona Gaels in the United States.
The 68-year-old moved to Greece in 2018 to take charge of Panathinaikos and won the Greek Cup and Greek Basket League title in his first season.
As well as coaching Panathinaikos, Pitino was appointed head coach of Greece’s national team in 2019.
Pitino left the Greek club in March after being offered an opportunity to become basketball coach at Iona College who play in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference.
But Pitino is set to continue managing Greece who are due to play in the qualifiers for Tokyo 2020 which has been postponed to 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Staged in Victoria in Canada, Greece have been pitted against the hosts and China in Group A of the preliminary round, with matches scheduled to take place on June 29 2021.
Greece finished fifth at Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008, but failed to qualify for London 2012 and Rio 2016.
Pitino has been head coach of several teams in the National Collegiate Athletic Association Division One and National Basketball Association.
In 2017, Pitino was axed as Louisville head coach amid an FBI investigation into fraud and corruption.
He was accused of taking part in a pay-for-play scheme to sign players, but he maintains his innocence.