June 21 (UPI) -- Longtime college basketball head coach Rick Pitino announced Friday he is focusing on returning to the NBA and will not return for a second season coaching Panathinaikos in the Euroleague.
Pitino told ESPN he turned down an offer to return as coach and president of the Greek basketball team because he wants to land a full-time NBA job. Pitino said he would be open to coaching or an off-court role.
Pitino released a statement on Twitter on Friday morning thanking his players for their "terrific efforts."
"Thanks to the great people of Greece for your over the top kindness and hospitality," Pitino wrote. "Such an awesome country that will always hold a place in my heart."
Pitino was 10-9 with Panathinaikos in Athens, Greece, last year.
Pitino last coached in the United States as Louisville's men's basketball coach from 2001 to 2017. His 2013 national championship was vacated as part of an ongoing corruption scandal that alleged Pitino bribed recruits to play at Louisville.
Pitino was 192-220 in five-plus seasons as an NBA coach. He led the Knicks to 90 regular season wins in two seasons from 1987 to 1989 before returning to college basketball as Kentucky's head coach.
Pitino's last NBA head coaching stint was with the Boston Celtics from 1997 to 2001. He resigned midway through the Celtics' 2000-01 season.