DePaul, Leitao negotiate multi-year contract extension through 2023-24 season


Alexa Sandler | The DePaulia

DePaul head coach Dave Leitao talks with the media following the Blue Demons 101-69 victory over Georgetown on March 6. The Blue Demons have another chance to end the season on a high note after a disappointing finish to the season with losses to Creighton and St. John’s.

DePaul University and men’s basketball head coach Dave Leitao are in negotiations over a multi-year extension that would keep Leitao at the program until the end of the 2023-2024 season, per school release on Thursday. 

Leitao, who is suspended for the first three games of the 2019-2020 season due to the program violating NCAA ethical rules, has a 50-82 overall record and a 15-56 conference record since coming back to DePaul in 2015. 

This past summer, the NCAA ruled that Leitao failed to promote an atmosphere of compliance and the Blue Demons’ program was placed on probation for three years for illegal recruiting activity. 

A former associate head coach arranged for the assistant director of basketball operations to travel out of the state to live with the recruit to ensure that he completed NCAA core courses and became immediately eligible to compete, according to the release.

While Leitao might not have known that these activities were transpiring, the NCAA ruled that Leitao failed to monitor his staff when he did not actively look for red flags or ask questions about the assistant director of basketball operations’ two-week absence. 

As a result, Leitao will miss games against Alcorn State, University of Chicago and Fairleigh Dickson to begin the upcoming season.

In July, Leitao and athletic director Jean Lenti Ponsetto agreed to terms with former associate head coach Rick Carter over an order of protection filed against him in September of 2018 after he allegedly made threatening comments toward them.

Since returning to DePaul, Leitao has only led the Blue Demons to one postseason appearance which came this past season in the CBI. DePaul made it all the way to the championship series before losing to South Florida in three games. 

The Blue Demons have finished in last place in the Big East three times since Leitao returned to DePaul, with their highest finish being ninth in 2015-2016. 

Last season was the first time the program had a winning record, 19-17, since the 2006-2007 record but failed to qualify for either the NCAA or NIT Tournament and ended up paying a fee to play and host games in the CBI Tournament. 

The school declined to provide a comment until the athletic department and Leitao finalize the contract extension at a later date.