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Leitao Leaves DePaul for Virginia

By Benjy Lipsman in News on Apr 15, 2005 4:38PM

DePaul men's basketball coach Dave Leitao is expected to announce he is leaving DePaul to coach at Virginia. He returned to Chicago with an offer in hand and was expected to make a public announcement after speaking with his Blue Demon players. His new deal is supposedly worth $1.2 million plus incentives that could take it higher -- double his current $600,000 deal at DePaul.

2005_04_sports_dave_leiteo.jpgLeitao spent 3 years in Chicago, all as Blue Demons head coach. Prior to that, he spent most of the previous 15 years as an assistant under Calhoun at UConn.

With Leitao seeking greener pastures in the ACC, the list of potential replacements is alredy circulating. The Trib's list of twelve includes some pretty big names, like former Utah coach Rick Majerus, Digger Phelps and Matt Doherty as well as some assitants at big programs and head coaches at smaller schools that have garnered some attention.

Majerus is an intriguing choice. He clearly knows a ton about basketball and coaching. He would immediately move DePaul up into the elite programs in the Midwest. But is he healthy enough to coach again? He left Utah a few years back because of his health, and then resigned the USC job this past winter before even techinically on the job. But he is from Milwaukee so it would be an opportunity to return home.

Chicagoist hopes that DePaul stays away from some formerly big name coaches that left their past programs due to scandal like Doherty, Mike Jarvis and Nolan Richardson. There is no reason to bring that kind of baggage into a program that for so long as avoided the problems others schools have. It might be difficult to grab a top talent because DePaul athletics doesn't have the huge budget that D-I football schools do, but there are plenty of good young coaches that could flourish if given the chance. Duke assistant Chris Collins has Chicago ties. Brian Gregory has been successful at Dayton and is from suburban Mt. Prospect. Let's give one of these guys a shot... if Majarus doesn't want the job.