Thursday, September 10, 2015

Rick Pitino Steps Down as Head Coach of Puerto Rico

Rick Pitino has decided to step down as head coach of Puerto Rico's national basketball team.

The Louisville head coach has decided to turn the position over to his assistant coaches following a fifth place finish in the FIBA Americas Olympic Qualifying tournament.

Here is more from

Pitino, however, said Wednesday that he's ready to hand over the national team to his assistant coaches as he returns to the United States to coach the Louisville Cardinals.

"When I came here I wanted three things," said Pitino, who has coached the team since June. "To help Puerto Rico get to the Olympics, to teach them a new culture of defensive basketball and to develop my three assistants and Puerto Rican brothers -- Nelson [Colon], Allans [Colon] and Richie [Dalmau].

"They are ready to take charge of this."

Puerto Rico closed the FIBA Americas with an 80-69 victory over Uruguay.

"I am proud of this team," Pitino said. "This is the best defense I have seen in the first half in a long time. We have been trying to reach three goals with these players for the past 100 days. We have tried to get them to play together like a closed fist, to play for Puerto Rico with a passion they have never had before and to play defense as though the game was on the line at each possession.

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