There was Bruno, standing at the center of the court named in his honor, thanking various contingencies, including the DePaul administration, the Screamin’ Demon band, the cheerleaders, the dance team, and the fans. And the appreciation for what he has done at DePaul was also present, perhaps best represented by one DePaul fan who shouted, during the game, “Bruno in 2016!”
But for Bruno, basketball has always been about more than basketball.
There are the post-game press conferences, with questions and answers about strategy, player performances, great wins, and tough losses. But there is another side of those press conferences: the community services that his student-athletes participate in; how the student-athletes were up until 2:00 in the morning before a game studying for final exams; and how much he cares about what happens to the student-athletes once they leave DePaul- if, in their hearts, they ever do leave.
And after the recognition of his 600th win, which coincided with DePaul women’s basketball Alumnae Day, Bruno stood with his former players and current players for photos. And it was that sight, seeing him with the roughly 30 former players and his current team, that made one really understand that the bond Bruno has with his players is about more than just basketball.
And, as the following excerpts from interviews of former players there that day reveals, that bond is deep and strong.
Samantha Quigley (2006-10. Scored 1,273 points, had 484 assists, and made 187 three-pointers)
“The biggest thing I took away from DePaul is making an influence on other people’s lives, and that is what coach Bruno taught us. What I felt when I left here, I wanted other people to feel that way about me and about another place. DePaul has been so special to all of us. And another big thing is to compete every day, not just in athletics, but in everyday life, to compete to be a better person, compete to do well in the classroom and academically.”
Deirdre Naughton (2007-11. Scored 1,198 points, had 383 assists, and shot 42.3 percent from the field)
“His daily habits are things that all of us admire. Every single day he put in the work and it really carried over to all of us. I have never seen anyone who works as hard as he does. He also really cared about his players as people and I think that helped us, and it is why we all bought into everything he did when we played for him.
“The things he pushed us to do on and off the court, like speaking in public and the service work he had us do and the way he pushed us in practice. And the way he pushed us to be leaders, too. [When I came to DePaul] I hated talking in public and I was not a very vocal person and I left a completely different person as far as leadership is concerned. I learned to be a leader from him, including in the areas of coaching, teaching, and relationships.”
Anna Martin (2009-13. Scored 1,756 points, had 357 assists, and 195 steals)
“He has taught me so much it is literally hard for me to know where to start. I think the biggest thing for me right now personally is now that I am done playing basketball collegiately and professionally, is dedication and what he gives to this program. He really gives his life to his job and to DePaul. It is inspiring to think of what you can do. You hope to do a small percentage of what he has done at DePaul. Also, you can see all of the love [here tonight] and respect that everyone has for him. But he is always the first to show everybody else respect. And even though he is a Hall of Famer and a legend, he has respect from every fan and every person who walks through [the McGrath-Phillips Arena] door. And no matter what I have going on, I know I can call him at any time and ask for advice. That servant leadership and what he has given to DePaul is amazing.”
Megan Rogowski (2011-15. Scored 1,144 points, shot 39.1 percent from three-point range, and made 204 three-point field goals)
“Coach Bruno did a great job of teaching us how to be an all-around person. Not just great basketball players, but he also taught us how to be awesome off the court.
“When I went for my interview [at my current job], the interviewer knew all about Coach Bruno and his competitiveness. The biggest thing about my job is the competition, and I would not have gotten the job had it not been for Coach Bruno and DePaul. The competitiveness, working hard, and time management, my employer knows that Coach Bruno taught that and ingrained that in us.”