DePaul fires men’s basketball coach Dave Leitaoon March 15, 2021 at 5:36 pm

DePaul has fired men’s basketball coach Dave Leitao, according to multiple reports.

Leitao, 60, has led the Blue Demons to five straight last-place finishes in the Big East.

Leitao, who was in his second stint as DePaul coach, was re-hired in 2015 by former athletic director Jean Lenti Ponsetto in a controversial move. In his first go around with DePaul from 2002-2005, he compiled a 58-34 record in three seasons, with one NCAA appearance before leaving in 2015 to coach Virginia.

His return lasted six seasons, with a 69-113 record and zero NCAA appearances. In 2018-19, the team finished with its only winning record (19-17) — its first in 12 years — in Leitao’s recent tenure. The Blue Demons were runners-up in the College Basketball Invitational.

The Blue Demons began the following season 12-1, its most promising start to a season in years, including a 65-60 overtime win against the reigning national finalist No. 12 Texas Tech. However the team stumbled down the stretch with a 3-15 conference record.

Leitao finished 124-147 overall at DePaul, with a 21-85 record in Big East play.

Athletic director Dwayne Peevy, who started in September, will make his first high-profile hire of his tenure. Peevy came to DePaul after 12 years at Kentucky where he served deputy athletic director and oversaw the Wildcats’ men’s basketball program.

He has spoken of high expectations and the need to resurrect the Blue Demons moribund men’s basketball program.

“I was brought here for a reason,” Peevy told the Sun-Times earlier this month, ”to fix [men’s basketball]. … “I didn’t come here to be last, We’re last again.”

Among the names that Peevy could target: Loyola coach Porter Moser, former Kentucky assistant Kenny Payne, who is now an assistant coach with the Knicks, or Duke assistant and former Glenbrook North standout Jon Scheyer.

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