CHICAGO -- DePaul announced on Sunday that Dave Leitao has been named men’s basketball coach. Leitao returns to Lincoln Park after leading the program to three postseason appearances in his first stint from 2002-05.
“Following our search that garnered high-level national interest, we are excited to announce that Dave Leitao is our next men’s basketball coach,” athletics director Jean Lenti Ponsetto said. “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.”
“We are particularly grateful to Parker Executive Search for their guidance and assistance in this process. We had the opportunity to interview superb candidates and in the end Dave surfaced as our number one choice,” Ponsetto said.
Leitao’s first stint at DePaul saw a pair of NIT appearances and a second round showing in the 2004 NCAA tournament. That NCAA appearance was the most recent for the Blue Demons. In Leitao’s first season, he led the Blue Demons to one of the top turnarounds in the nation as DePaul posted a 16-13 record after going 9-19 in the previous season. In his three seasons, he compiled a record of 58-34 that included 44 victories in his final two seasons. In addition to the 2004 squad reaching the NCAA second round, that team also claimed the Conference USA regular-season championship before falling in the championship game of the conference tournament.
“This is a special day for my family and me,” Leitao said. “I underestimated what a special place DePaul University and the city of Chicago are when I left here in 2005. The dedication and support here to the growth of student success is second to none, not only for a basketball program but also for the entire student body. I’m proud and our team will be proud to represent this great institution in one of the world’s great cities. We will exude the work ethic that drives Chicago and the region every day and look forward to everyone joining us next season.”