Growing up 150 miles from Chicago in Clinton, Iowa, Tony Stubblefield’s first head coaching job is a return to his Midwest roots.
“I grew up watching Blue Demons basketball on WGN Channel 9 with my grandma, grandpa, mom and dad, so I’m very familiar with this.”
The 51-year-old is known as an elite recruiter and will need to attract top talent locally and beyond to build back the Blue Demon program.
“I know that there’s a base here in Chicago, the suburbs, the state of Illinois and I know recruiting from a national standpoint, that we have a brand here at DePaul and we can get this thing turned around.”
DePaul AD DeWayne Peevy interviewed 37 coaches in a two-week span, comparing the process to speed dating.
“It’s like finding your wife but you don’t have much time.
“Tony was the only coach I got to offer the job to. That was important to me. When I got to that point I knew, he was going to say yes. That’s what made it feel like a marriage or a proposal because when I got to that point, I knew my wife was going to say yes when I asked.”
Peevy and Stubblefield had actually never met before this process started. They spoke over Zoom while Coach Stubbs was with Oregon in the NCAA Tournament bubble.
But if the Ducks kept winning, things may have turned out differently.
“Fate intervened enough. I didn’t want Oregon to lose to be the reason we’re here today but it gave me an opportunity,” Peevy explained. “Say Oregon got to the Final Four, I can be honest, I don’t know if we are here today because I don’t know if I could’ve waited enough to know what the situation was going forward.”
“Actually, I flew from Indy to Eugene, Oregon, which is a five-hour flight because of head winds. Got there at 1:30 and I heard from them at 1:50. They said, ‘We need you to be back in Chicago for an interview tomorrow.’ I went home. Got a suit. Jumped on a plane. Got back to Chicago at about 12:30 that night. I spent about 11 hours on a plane that day but it was well worth it.”
DePaul fans hope so, too.