Leitao Ready for Challenge as DePaul's New Head Coach

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Byline: Kent McDill Daily Herald Sports Writer

It's a problem when you hold an introductory news conference for your basketball coach and you actually have to introduce the guy because nobody knows who he is.

That was the situation at DePaul University's Student Center Wednesday when athletic director Bill Bradshaw brought out new coach Dave Leitao for his first official function as coach of the Blue Demons.

Leitao, 41, served as assistant coach at the University of Connecticut for eight seasons, spent two years as head coach of his alma mater, Northeastern University, then returned to Connecticut to serve eight more years with the new title as associate coach.

His attachment to the remarkable success of the Connecticut Huskies speaks well for him but did nothing to spark emotions among the players who are in the program and will play for Leitao next season if they stay at DePaul.

"I don't know him personally or anything about him," center Sam Hoskin said. "When I first heard it, I said, 'Who?'

"Every day I was hearing this name, that name, he turned it down, he was interviewing. I think it was real strenuous on the players. I'm just glad it is over."

Junior forward-center Andre Brown, considering a leap to the NBA rather than play his senior year, said he was expecting a "name" coach to be his next mentor.

"I thought they were going to bring in Nolan Richardson or Tim Floyd, one of those big names," Brown said. "But they went with the underdog. I didn't know him. I don't think many people know who he is. That gives him a chance to show people what he can do and where he came from. I am willing to work with him."

Leitao, a tall, slender man who looks like the former player he is, made no attempt to disregard his "no-name" status. …