DePaul Hires a Program Builder

When you talk to people about Oliver Purnell's basketball coaching career, two words come up repeatedly – "program builder". In this report, we learn more about this builder of college basketball programs.

Oliver Purnell and DePaul basketball seem like the perfect marriage. Purnell has a reputation as a program builder and the Blue Demons are a program in need of an overhaul. Think of it as "Extreme Makeover: College Hoops Edition".

The Blue Demons have gone 1-35 in conference play the last two seasons and are in serious need of the type of resurrection that Purnell is famous for.

At every stop he's made (Radford, Old Dominion, Dayton, and Clemson), Purnell has left the basketball program in better shape than he found it.

At Clemson, he inherited a team that was a celler dweller in the ACC under Larry Shyatt. Within three years, Purnell had the Tigers program to where they've now won 19 plus games and advanced to the postseason for the last five seasons.

"You've got a coach who will rebuild," said CUTigers publisher Roy Philpott. "Make no mistake. I was just talking to somebody. In three years, DePaul will be at least be a good basketball team. They'll be back in the NCAA tournament. Purnell will bring in the players there that you need to compete in the Big East. It will be a good program. It's only a matter of time. His reputation is building programs and that's exactly what he'll do, I'm fully confident of that."

"Oliver Purnell is one of the most respected guys in the ACC and he has the blueprint on how to build a program," said's Dave Telep from his home in North Carolina. "I think DePaul really shocked some people in this part of the country when they were able to pry him away from Clemson. It's a big score!"

So why did Purnell leave Clemson after a seven year stay? I guess you could call it the seven-year itch.

"I think that maybe he plateaued," said Philpott. "I'm not surprised, maybe he had done everything that he could possibly do here and maybe that would prompt this move."

Purnell loves rebuilding college basketball programs and talked about that passion for rebuilding at his introductory press conference today.

"I'm fired up and excited about an opportunity and a challenge," Purnell said. "It gets your juices flowing."

If that's what gets his juices flowing, then DePaul is indeed the perfect match for Purnell.

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