After a lengthy search for a new coach once Oliver Purnell resigned on March 14 after compiling a woeful 54-105 record at DePaul, the University went back to the future to re-introduce Dave Leitao as their new coach on Monday. This hire comes after there were reports from the Chicago Tribune that DePaul had interest in both Buffalo coach Bobby Hurley and Valparaiso’s Bryce Drew.
Leitao, 54, coached DePaul from 2002-2005 and compiled a 58-34 record, while taking the Blue Demons to one NCAA Tournament appearance (2004-their last time in the filed) sandwiched in between two NIT appearances. After his run with DePaul, Leitao then accepted the job to become Virginia’s head coach and guided them to the NCAA Tournament in his second year on the job (2007) while being named 2007 ACC Coach of the Year. He was subsequently fired in 2009 after he finished with a 63-60 record at the school. Since leaving Virginia, Leiato has had stints as the head coach of the Maine Red Claws of the NBADL and also being a top assistant under Frank Haith while at Missouri and most recently Tulsa.
From DePaul’s athletic site:
“Following our search that garnered high-level national interest, we are excited to announce that Dave Leitao is our next men’s basketball coach,” said athletics director Jean Lenti Ponsetto. “His success here speaks for itself with three postseason appearances in three years with teams that energized our alumni and fans with their competitiveness and work ethic. When he left in 2005, we recognized that it is the nature of our business that dynamic coaches get recruited away. Now we are pleased to welcome Dave, his wife Joyce and their family back to Lincoln Park with great enthusiasm for his leadership and the future development of our men’s basketball program.”
Leitao is now once again tasked to turn around a struggling program that has now endured eight-straight losing seasons. Last year’s Demon’s finished 12-20 overall, but they did enjoy its best run in the Big East in seven years with a 6-12 conference record. In nine years as a head coach, including a stint at Northeastern as well, Leitao has a career record of 143-129