According to reports by ESPN, barring any hiccups, former Virginia Cavaliers head coach Dave Leitao will be returning to DePaul as their head coach.
DePaul and Dave Leitao's reps are working on specifics of a deal. Barring hiccup, he will return as head coach, multiple sources told ESPN.— Andy Katz (@ESPNAndyKatz) March 29, 2015
DePaul has agreed to deal in principle with Dave Leitao, sources told ESPN. He will return to Chicago.— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanESPN) March 29, 2015
If this closes, then so the circle of life holds true again. Prior to coaching at Virginia from 2005-2009, Leitao was the head coach of DePaul from 2002-2005, during which time he brought the Blue Demons to a first round NIT appearance, a second round NCAA appearance, and a second round NIT appearance, before being lured away by Virginia.
While at Virginia, Leitao found success early on, leading the team to a share of the regular season ACC title in 2007 (tied with North Carolina) and a second-round NCAA appearance with Sean Singletary and J.R. Reynolds. But the success was immediately followed by 5-11 and 4-12 ACC seasons. In 2009, Leitao was forced to resign with approximately $2.1 million in severance pay over four years. The reason for his forced resignation is often cited less a matter of the poor ACC record, and instead a matter of a poor "fit" at Virginia, as Leitao's hot temper and military approach were not well-received in Charlottesville.
Following his time at Virginia, Leitao took two years off before becoming the second head coach for the NBA D-League team Maine Red Claws. He was then an assistant at Missouri from 2012-2014 before joining Tulsa as an assistant. The Tulsa Golden Hurricanes had a second-round exit from the NIT this year.
The hire comes somewhat as a surprise, given the reports that DePaul had also interviewed Valparaiso's Bryce Drew and Buffalo's Bobby Hurley. Both of these teams made the Tournament this year, with Valparaiso losing to Maryland and Buffalo losing to West Virginia, each in the Round of 64. (Hurley reportedly turned down the offer.)
Initial reactions on Twitter aren't so positive.
Man, DePaul totally DePaul'd their coaching search.— Matt Brown (@MattSBN) March 29, 2015
@ESPNAndyKatz unbelievable... What a joke of a program. Excited for OP leaving only to be disappointed yet again— Mitch Heun (@MitchHeun) March 29, 2015