Report: Dave Leitao to return to DePaul as head coach

DePaul has hired Dave Leitao as its next head coach, the school announced Sunday.

This will be Leitao’s second stint at DePaul. He coached the Blue Demons for three years from 2002 to 2005, when the team was still in Conference USA, and made the postseason each year (1 NCAA, 2 NITs).

Leitao had a 58-34 record before leaving for Virginia, where he was fired after four years with a record barely above .500.

“This is a special day for my family and me,” Leitao said in a release. “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.”

DePaul initially wanted a young, rising star in the business to take over as head coach.

The athletics department interviewed, Valparaiso coach Bryce Drew and Buffalo coach Bobby Hurley, who both brought their mid-major schools to the NCAA Tournament this season. Both coaches turned down the job, reports said.

Leitao will replace Oliver Purnell, who was fired March 14 after five seasons.

ESPN first reported the news Sunday afternoon.

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