DePaul and Dave Leitao Agree to Multi-Year Contract Extension

DePaul University and men’s basketball coach Dave Leitao have mutually agreed to a multi-year extension for Leitao to lead the program. The extension continues the current contract through the end of the 2023-24 season.
“We are happy to reach an agreement to continue the improvement and stability that Coach Leitao has instilled in our men’s basketball program,” said athletics director Jean Lenti Ponsetto. “His vision of academic excellence, athletic excellence and community service mirrors DePaul’s mission in developing outstanding student-athletes and future leaders in our society.”
Leitao recently completed his fifth season of his second stint leading the program as the Blue Demons finished with a 16-16 record that followed a 19-win season in 2018-19. Overall, the 2019-20 season was the eighth for Leitao on the DePaul sideline that includes a three-year run from 2002-05 followed by his return to Lincoln Park starting with the 2015-16 season.
DePaul’s 12-1 start to begin this past season was the best non-conference record since the Blue Demons joined the Great Midwest Conference in 1991. The 86-65 win over UIC on Dec. 14 marked the first time since the 1999-00 season that a DePaul team won at least 10 games in a season before Jan. 1.
Overall, the Blue Demons recorded six wins against teams ranked as a Quad 1 opponent in the NET last season. Those six victories put DePaul on a list of just 23 programs in the nation to record at least six Q1 wins during the 2019-20 season. The Blue Demons were one of six BIG EAST programs on the 23-team list while the league was the top-ranked conference in the country.
Prior to the BIG EAST Tournament, junior forward Paul Reed was named second team All-BIG EAST and Romeo Weems was selected to the league’s All-Freshman Team. The Blue Demons closed the season with a 71-67 win over Xavier in the first round of the BIG EAST Tournament before the remainder of the college basketball season was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I appreciate DePaul athletics director Jean Lenti Ponsetto for her continued support,” said Leitao. “The process of laying the foundation for sustained success evolved into a strong start to this season before a tough run through the conference schedule. I’m proud of the resilience of our players and staff to finish the season strong before all of our lives were interrupted with the coronavirus outbreak. The response we received from our fans and supporters all season was outstanding and we can’t wait to continue to build excitement at Wintrust Arena in the future.”
The 19 wins a year ago and appearance in the College Basketball Invitational marked the most wins and first postseason appearance since the 2006-07 season. Reed was named the BIG EAST’s Most Improved Player while Max Strus was a second team All-BIG EAST honoree. DePaul’s 35 wins over the last two seasons are the most in back-to-back seasons since 42 total victories in 2003-04 and 2004-05.

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