Every Doug has his day: Women’s basketball coach honored


Alexa Sandler | The DePaulia

DePaul women’s basketball head coach Doug Bruno looks on in the second half during the Big East title game against Marquette.

When head coach Doug Bruno took over the DePaul women’s basketball team in 1978, he wasn’t just changing sports at DePaul, he was changing the outlook on how women’s sports should be valued. 

As DePaul celebrates 50 years of Title IX, Bruno was inducted into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame the same year in June. Bruno also received his own official day twice as Mayor Lori Lightfoot officially made June 11 and September 29 “Doug Bruno Day” in Chicago. 

DeWayne Peevy, DePaul’s vice president and director of Athletics unveiled a new addition to the women’s court at Wintrust Arena. The court will be named “Doug Bruno Court,” but will stay as the Ray Meyer Court for men’s games. Bruno already has his name in the McGrath-Phillips arena, but the team no longer hosts games there. 

Bruno was asked what it means to have accomplished 36 seasons at helm of the team, along with what has brought him so much success to have his name solidified at the university forever. 

“I love DePaul, I love it,” Bruno said. “This is about the players, you win with players. I just really like to stay in the moment, coach the next possession. We have a game in 40 days and I don’t just try to wallow in what is happening, other than trying to learn from the past and make a better future.” 

Back in July, the city of Chicago and Mayor Lori Lightfoot honored Bruno with the City of Chicago Title Champion Award. 

Bruno recently passed Hall of Fame coach Ray Meyer who had 724 career for most wins by any coach at DePaul. Entering his 37th season, Bruno currently sits with 758 wins and plans to continue coaching. 

When Peevy arrived on campus in August of 2020, he knew the kind of coach he had in Bruno and was excited to begin working with him and expand the program to greater heights. 

“He’s allowed me to help him and bounce other ideas off of him,” Peevy said. “He has a big picture, and uniquely our women’s basketball coach, a Hall of Fame career that actually played here and an administrator too in the athletic department. He has such a great perspective on athletics.” 

Bruno made it evident that he has no plans to retire anytime soon. During the speech given on Thursday, Bruno told a story of when he and Peevy met for the first time at dinner and began discussing the future of the team. 

“I am just letting you know I am not retiring, you’re either wacking me or I’m dying in the chair,” Bruno told Peevy. 

Peevy was relieved to find out that Bruno was here to stay and continue on his coaching legacy for years to come. 

“For me it was good to know that I don’t need to worry about the women’s basketball coach,” Peevy said. “That’s one hell of a thing to worry about in your first couple years is replacing a legend. It puts me at ease, but it’s fun challenging him because he’s seen so much, how you can throw something at him that he’s never thought about and he’s driven about things he wants to see done.” 

Doug Bruno and his wife Patty attend his hall of fame induction ceremony on Sept. 29. (DePaul Athletics)

To go along with more of Bruno’s accomplishments, in both 2012 and 2016 Bruno was the assistant coach for both Olympic games where the U.S. Women’s National Team took gold in London and Rio de Janeiro. 

In Bruno’s time with the Blue Demons, he has taken his teams to 24 NCAA Tournaments. Bruno has eclipsed only three losing seasons and has had the women’s program at the top DePaul University for decades. 

Bob Sakamoto, former assistant director of Athletic Communications, talked about Bruno’s time with DePaul and how people started to view him as a coach. 

“Doug Bruno, for a number of years, was sort of under-appreciated,” Sakamoto said. “I don’t think he got the credit for what he did. It came to a point where in his career, such a brilliant coach, such a great recruiter that he kept winning 20 to 30 games a season and kept going to the NCAA Tournament, so all of a sudden, that just became a no big deal and people took it for granted how good he was.” 

With Bruno entering his 37th season and his 72nd birthday approaching, Bruno has goals to accomplish more and more for DePaul women’s basketball. 

“We like to take this to another level,” Bruno said. “We are proud of going to NCAA Tournaments, but we want to go further into NCAA Tournaments. The reason we keep doing this is because I love relationships, love to teach, love to compete and I love basketball.” 

The Blue Demons’ season starts on Oct. 30 when they travel to Austin, Texas to play the Longhorns. 

Bruno will look to have another 20-win season and clinch his second consecutive NCAA Tournament.