Rick Pitino decided to take over the head coach position of the EuroLeague “giant” Panathinaikos just one and a half years ago. The NCAA legend claimed that he made that decision after talking to the head coach of the Philadelphia 76ers Brett Brown.
“I left on Christmas Eve in 2018, and if it wasn’t for Brett Brown, I wouldn’t have done it,” he said. “Brett had played for me at BU, and I asked him on this podcast how he (ended up coaching in) Australia. He said, ‘Coach, I just said to my dad that I’d always wanted to go to Australia and asked him to loan me the money.’ He just packed his one bag and took off, knew no one.”
Brown played for Boston University under Pitino and then took up coaching by working in several teams in Australia.
After 14 years there (1988-2002), Brown was named director of player development in the San Antonio Spurs, before ending up being the head coach of the Philadelphia 76ers in 2013.
On the other hand, Pitino has experienced the toughest level of the European “stage”, leading Panathinaikos to the playoffs of the EuroLeague last season. He returned to the US and took the job as head coach of Iona College in March.