CHICAGO -It’s a program with a proud history that’s fallen on difficult times over the past 15 years under a few head coaches.
Not since 2004 has DePaul taken part in the NCAA Tournament, when Dave Leitao’s team went to the second round of the “Big Dance.” He would leave in 2005 to take the job at Virginia, and since then Jerry Wainwright, Oliver Purnell, and then Leitao again were unable to get the Blue Demons to tournament-level.
That led to his firing by new athletic director DeWayne Peevy after the 2020-2021 season in which DePaul finished last in the Big East with a 5-14 overall record. A few weeks later, he’s found his man within a successful program out west.
Oregon assistant Tony Stubblefield takes the reigns of the Blue Demons program after 11 years as an assistant with the Ducks. Under head coach Dana Altman, he helped the program to ten postseason appearances and a berth in the Final Four in 2017.
“I’m very familiar with the tradition of success this program has achieved, and I know we can achieve it again together,” said Stubblefield in a statement released by the school. “The challenge ahead is the most exciting part. When you consider the world-class education you can receive at DePaul, its Vincentian mission, the city of Chicago as a backdrop and the competitive excellence of the BIG EAST Conference—DePaul was an obvious choice.
“I’m eager to get to campus, roll up my sleeves and get started.”
A graduate of Nebraska-Omaha, Stubblefield began his career there as a student assistant in 1992 where he remained till 1995. He’d then have jobs on staffs as UT-San Antonio, UT-Arlington, New Mexico State, then four years as an assistant and recruiting coordinator at Cincinnati before joining Altman at Oregon.
With the Ducks, Stubblefield helped recruit five classes that were ranked in the Top 12 nationally, including the Class of 2021. On the court, the Ducks won at least 21 games every year he was there, making seven NCAA tournaments with an eighth having also come had the 2020 “March Madness” been played.
He’ll have the job of trying to turnaround a program that has just two winning seasons since that 2004 tournament apperance.
“Relationships, recruiting and vision were everything with this hire. We knew we had to find the right person for where our program is right now,” said Peevy in a statement released by the school. Tony quickly demonstrated his eagerness to begin rebuilding this program to national prominence.
“That, coupled with over 28 years of Division I college coaching experience, extensive college basketball relationships, an elite history of recruiting and his alignment with our vision for the future, made him quickly rise to the top of our candidate list.”