To say that Rick Pitino has been having an interesting time as head coach of Panathinaikos in Greece would be putting it rather mildly. Today, he endured one of the strangest incidents of his four decades in coaching and was eager to tell people about it.
Pitino’s Panathinaikos led David Blatt’s Olympiacos 40-25 at halftime, but the trailing Reds were reportedly furious at the officiating in the game. Before the second half could resume, Blatt’s side opted to simply leave and forfeit the game, prompting Pitino to take to Twitter.
Well in 42 years of coaching I, thought I had seen it all. Up 15 at halftime. Motivating my team to come out with great intensity the first 5 minutes. We were fired up except Olympiakos never came back out. Game over. Onto the Greek Cup finals in Crete on Sunday
The Olympiacos general manager doubled-down on the team’s distaste for the officiating, saying on live television that the team was “disgusted.” The story only gets crazier as EuroHoops reported that the Panathinaikos owner taunted the forfeiting team by leaving a thong on the Olympiacos bench.
Panathinaikos missed the Greek Cup finals last year after winning the tournament the previous six seasons.
With Olympiacos, one of the top clubs in the Greek Basket League, likely eliminated from the tournament over their “protest” today, it looks like Pitino is on his way to his first title game as manager of the Greek basketball giants.
Pitino’s team is currently an undefeated 15-0 in the Greek Basket League, building off of a 26-0 season they had last season.
Things may be strange to Pitino in Greece, but it certainly looks like he’s right on his way to more championships.