Tracy Webster Takes Over at DePaul

It's never easy for an assistant coach to take over as an interim coach in the middle of a season. There is a world of difference when sliding over 12 inches to the left on the bench. It's even more difficult if you're trying to do it in the midst of a Big East conference season. That's the challenge that DePaul interim coach Tracy Webster faces with the Blue Demons.

Tracy Webster appeared up to that challenge as he led his team through their second official practice as interim coach on Tuesday afternoon.

"All you can do is ask them to continue to play hard and try to do more," said Webster. "Taking care of business is huge. If they take care of business, take care of each other, and take care of themselves on the perimeter defensively, we should be OK."

Webster has received encouragement from some of his former bosses including recently dismissed coach Jerry Wainwright as he works to prepare the Blue Demons for their matchup with the Providence Friars on Thursday night.

"I was working for a really good guy," Webster said of Wainwright. "When this happened, he gave me a blessing. He knew it would be a great opportunity for me. When he says ‘Tracy, you got to go get it,' that gives me more strength."

Webster also heard from former Kentucky coach Billy Gillispie who he worked for last season.

"Coach Gillispie contacted me," said Webster. "He's big time. He really wants it to happen."

Gillispie also offered Webster some advice.

"He says have to fun with it, don't change and to be yourself, and get the guys to play hard."

Webster played at Wisconsin for coaches Steve Yoder and Stu Jackson. He then went on to coach at Ball State under Tim Buckley, Purdue for legendary coach Gene Keady, Illinois with Bruce Weber, and Kentucky. Along the way, Webster has picked up things from many of his mentors.

"I just have to take what I've learned from them and add my flavor, Coach Garrett's flavor and Coach Booth's flavor and see what happens. I picked up something from all of them, whether it was Coach Gillispie with his toughness, Coach Keady with his toughness and defensive ability, or Coach Buckley's offensive ability, I've learned from all those guys."

On Thursday night, DePaul fans will get to see the result of Webster's experience.

"Those guys were very special to me from Ray McCallum to Steve Yoder to Stu Jackson to Tim Buckley," said Tracy. "All of them had their different styles, I learned a lot from all of them," added Webster. "We'll see if it paid off."

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