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The DePaulia

The Student Newspaper of DePaul University

The DePaulia

The Student Newspaper of DePaul University

The DePaulia

COLUMN – Lack of progression under Stubblefield: Is it time for a coaching change?

Will Robson
Senior forward Da’Sean Nelson drives to the rim in DePaul’s loss to Creighton Jan. 9, at Wintrust Arena. Nelson finished with 12 points.

Over the past two decades, DePaul men’s basketball has faced challenges in staying relevant while maintaining some competitiveness. However, this season presents a different narrative, as the team sits with a 3-13 record, having lost all five Big East games, with four of them by 25 points or more.

“I think this is the best conference in the country, and we’re playing against really good basketball teams,” head coach Tony Stubblefield said of DePaul’s struggle in the Big East during his tenure. “This is what you get when you choose to play ball in the Big East. You’re going to play against the best of the best night in and night out.”

Under Stubblefield’s leadership, the team has failed to exhibit any significant competitiveness, and the results are not showing improvement; in fact, they are deteriorating. 

There is a distinct lack of progression or growth under his leadership.

The past three seasons with Stubblefield at the helm have been challenging, as evidenced by his coaching record of 28-52, including a Big East record of 9-36. To make matters worse, the team has lost 17 straight regular season conference games, dating back to last season.

The fans deserve better, especially considering the team’s subpar performance on the court this season. Despite a complete roster overhaul, there is a noticeable decline in the team’s performance each season under Stubblefield. The expectation was for continuous growth and progress as a program from a recruiting standpoint, but the reality has been regression.

The team is possibly facing its lowest point as a program. Not only is the team consistently outplayed on its own court in terms of talent, but even Wintrust Arena, aside from the student section, fails to provide a home-court advantage. Lately, the stadium has been predominantly filled with fans of the opposing teams.

The question arises: Why is this such a big deal? It’s because the team has become so uninspiring to watch that there is no fear for fans in missing a DePaul basketball game. The team looks completely lost on the court without an ounce of passion or competitive fire left in them.

The team also might be reaching its boiling point. 

Following an 84-58 defeat to Creighton on Jan. 8, the players were not available to the media because they were meeting together after the game. Stubblefield joined them once the postgame press conference concluded.

“I left [the players] to come out here to speak with you all, and we’re just trying to hash some things out,” Stubblefield said. “I just didn’t like the competitive fight tonight. I didn’t like our competitiveness over the course of 40 minutes and didn’t like the fight we brought.”

As the second half of the season takes shape, Stubblefield will face considerable pressure to turn around the team’s fortunes and secure a few Big East wins. His coaching efforts are not only aimed at victories but could also determine the fate of his job by the season’s end.

The upcoming schedule poses no relief for DePaul, as they still have to face tough opponents like St. John’s, Marquette and Seton Hall, who are on top of the Big East along with Villanova and Creighton. 

If DePaul does not manage to turn things around, they might be on the verge of their worst season since the 1996-97 season.

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  • R

    RogerJan 19, 2024 at 9:40 pm

    Is there any question. Fire ? everyone associated with the program. A complete embarrassment

  • S

    Skyebox72Jan 16, 2024 at 4:30 pm

    A new coach? Yes, PLEASE! While doing so let’s return to the world-class iconic emblem of Billy the Blue Demon! This is the only starting point. For the love of all things that are DePaul basketball, get rid of that blurry mess!

    • J

      JackJan 18, 2024 at 4:37 pm

      Bill the Blue Demon…one of the best logos ever….This program is trash. Hard to believe back in the day they were ranked as high as 2 in the land. Depaul vs. Georgetown used to be a must watch.