Back to the Future for DePaul

DePaul Athletics decided to take a page from their past with bringing Dave Leitao back as head men’s basketball coach.

Dave Leitao, who first served as coach of the Blue Demons from 2002 to 2005, was introduced in Lincoln Park on Monday afternoon.

At the introductory press conference, Leitao stressed the importance of the future, rather than the program’s past.

“It’s not about reaching back so much, it’s about looking forward.”

And that means looking forward with the right leadership.

“Getting a coach or a leadership to move any program forward, it’s not about profile,” said Leitao. “Profiles, to me, satisfy people for a day. It’s about people. I truly believe I am that person, whether I was here before or not, what I did yesterday, good bad, or indifferent. I believe I am that person, because I have great knowledge of this university. I have great knowledge of the city, probably more than anybody else being considered.”

Leitao responded to criticism of his hire, by focusing on the tasks at hand going forward.

“Whether I’ve got 100,000 fans or 10 fans right now, it’s all dependent on winning basketball games and to have the people with the ability to do it on and off the court,” Leitao said. “I think once that happens, whether people are cynical or supportive, they’’ll be right where we need them to be.”

Leitao was asked about his concerns coming into the job. He only has one concern.

“My concern coming to DePaul is where are we at right now. Where is this program at? It finished at 12-20 and how can I improve it. That is my sole focus and that’s the work that I have to do to make sure to change that.”

Leitao plans on getting the job done, they way he did during his first stint, with defense and rebounding. The first part of that is the mental aspect of playing defense.

“It’s a mindset, it’s something that happens daily. Defense has never really been a problem for me to teach and for guys to accept. It’s the most controllable thing about sports. You don’t have to be able to jump out of the gym. You don’t have to shoot nine 3-pointers in a row. You don’t have to dribble through three people. You just have to dedicate yourself to be passionate, vocal, and have the desire to want to be able to stop it.”

Dave emphasized that he plans on finishing his career out in Chicago.

“I don’t have any desire to coach at (Connecticut),” said Leitao. “I don’t have any desire to coach anywhere else. I’m at a stage with my family that this is the place where I want to finish at. This is the place where I want them to live. This is the place where I want them to grow. As long as they’ll have me is as long as I’ll be here. When I leave here I’m just going to sit in a rocking chair and observe.”

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