Timeline of Jean Lenti Ponsetto’s 46-year career at DePaul

1974-1978 Jean Lenti Ponsetto attends DePaul, playing for DePaul women’s basketball, tennis, softball and volleyball teams

1978 – Lenti Ponsetto is named DePaul’s  first women’s basketball assistant coach

1987-89 Lenti Ponsetto serves as commissioner of the North Star conference that DePaul was a member of until 1991.

1992-98 Lenti Ponsetto serves on NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Committee, and was chair of the committee her final two years.

1999 The Ray Meyer Fitness Center is opened.

2000 The Sullivan Athletic Center is opened.

July 1, 2002Lenti Ponsetto is named DePaul’s director of athletics after having spent seven years as the senior associate director, 12 years as the associate director and two as an assistant director.

2004 DePaul men’s basketball makes its last NCAA Tournament. The Blue Demons went 22-10 in the 2003-04 season and lost in the second round of the tournament.

2004 – Lenti Ponsetto is named one of the top 100 most influential women in Chicago by the Chicago Sun-Times and second in the sports category. 

2005 – DePaul men’s basketball head coach Dave Leitao leaves the program to take the same job at the University of Virginia.

2005 – Lenti Ponsetto replaces Leitao with Jerry Wainwright.

2005 – DePaul moves from Conference USA to the Big East.

2007 – Lenti Ponsetto is inducted into the Chicagoland Sports Hall of Fame.

November 2009-March 2010 – Men’s basketball head coach Jerry Wainwright is fired after the first 15 games of the season. DePaul began the season 7-8 and 0-3 in Big East play, which carried over from an 18 game regular-season conference losing streak from the previous season. Tracy Webster took over for the rest of the season, and went 1-15 before being replaced. 

April 4, 2010 – Lenti Ponsetto hires Oliver Purnell to replace Webster as the men’s basketball head coach. Purnell signs a seven-year contract.

2010 – Cacciatore Softball Stadium is built.

2013 – DePaul is one of 10 schools to stay in the new Big East, with seven teams returning from the old conference (DePaul, Providence, St. John’s, Seton Hall, Georgetown, Villanova and Marquette) and three new teams being added — Creighton, Butler and Xavier. 

2014 – The DePaul women’s basketball team wins its first Big East regular season and tournament titles.

March 14, 2015 – Purnell resigns after five years with the program. He had a 54-105 overall record and a 15-65 conference record. In the 2014-15 season, the Blue Demons posted their best Big East record under Purnell, going 6-12. But the program failed to post one winning record in five seasons and did not qualify for one postseason tournament.

March 30, 2015 – After conducting a head coaching search, Lenti Ponsetto decided to bring back Leitao to lead the men’s basketball program. Leitao, who previously coached the Blue Demons from 2002-05 and led the program to its last NCAA Tournament appearance in 2004, signed a five-year contract. 

2015 – Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, officials from DePaul athletics and McCormick Place attend the ceremonial groundbreaking for Wintrust Arena.

November 11, 2016 – DePaul announces a 15-year naming rights agreement with Wintrust Financial.

2016-17 – DePaul leads the entire Big East with six team championships and eight academic awards.

March 4, 2017 – DePaul plays its final game at Allstate Arena before moving to Wintrust Arena. The Blue Demons lost the game 79-65 against Xavier.

November 11, 2017 – DePaul opens up Wintrust Arena by playing Notre Dame. The Blue Demons lost the game 72-58, but there was a reported attendance of 10,194.

2018 – DePaulia Investigation 

  • The Chief Marketing Officer from Wintrust Bank confirmed to The DePaulia that Wintrust executive vice president and sister-in-law of Lenti Ponsetto, Kandace Lenti, was involved in the multi-million dollar Wintrust Arena in the naming rights agreement. 
  • DePaul officials also told The DePaulia that Lenti Ponsetto never officially disclosed a conflict of interest form before engaging in the deal.

June 13, 2018 – DePaul softball coach Eugene Lenti, also the brother of Lenti Ponsetto, retires after three decades with the program. During his tenure, Lenti won over 1,300 games with the Blue Demons. 

July 30, 2019 – Lenti Ponsetto and Leitao settle an order of protection case against former DePaul associate head coach Rick Carter.

March 9, 2020 – The DePaul women’s basketball team wins both the Big East regular season and tournament titles. Earlier in the season, head coach Doug Bruno recorded his 700th win with the program.

March 11, 2020 – The DePaul men’s basketball team finishes the 2019-2020 season with a 16-16 overall record and a 3-15 Big East record, which resulted in a fourth straight last place finish. 

April 2, 2020 – Lenti Ponsetto gives Leitao a four-year contract extension after his previous contract expired.

April 16, 2020 – Lenti is the subject of a lawsuit that accuses him of verbally and physically abusing his players and assistant coaches.

June 5, 2020 – Lenti Ponsetto announces that she will be retiring in the summer. She also said that she’s currently in treatment for breast cancer, which she has previously beat two times.