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April 16, 2005


Dave Leitao, the men’s head basketball coach at DePaul University for the last three years, is the new men’s head basketball coach at the University of Virginia, U.Va. Athletics Director Craig Littlepage announced today.

“I am happy we have successfully concluded the search for a new coach with Dave Leitao’s acceptance of our offer of the position,” Littlepage said. “I have admired Dave’s work for a long time, and I’m looking forward to working with him as we enter a new era for Virginia basketball. He has demonstrated success at DePaul as a bench coach in the highly competitive Conference USA, and he’s always been one of the best evaluators of talent and recruiters in the country.

“Dave comes with a background that fits the University of Virginia. He understands our institution’s culture and what it takes for our students to be successful in all aspects of their experiences. Finally, he’s prepared for the challenges of the Atlantic Coast Conference and will have our team ready to compete every night.”

The first African-American head coach in any sport at Virginia, Leitao is the tenth head coach in the 100-year history of the Virginia men’s basketball program.

“Dave Leitao’s decision to accept our invitation to come to Charlottesville and lead the men’s basketball program into its second century is great news for all who care about U.Va. and about intercollegiate basketball,” said U.Va. President John T. Casteen III. “Dave is one of the country’s most highly regarded young coaches–someone I have known and admired since he first joined Jim Calhoun’s staff at UConn in 1986. At this time, as we work to rebuild a program that has enjoyed and richly deserves prominence in the ACC and NCAA, Dave’s leadership and example matter in critical ways.”

Leitao agreed to a five-year contract at a base salary of $215,000. His contract calls for total annual compensation of $925,000, including media and apparel driven revenue.

Leitao’s three DePaul teams compiled an overall record of 58-34 (.630) and participated in a postseason tournament each year. DePaul was 20-11 this past season and advanced to the second round of the National Invitation Tournament (NIT). The Blue Demons compiled a 22-10 record during 2003-04, and lost to the University of Connecticut, the eventual national champion, in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. DePaul was 16-13 in Leitao’s first season (2002-03) and participated in the NIT.

“I am prepared to accept the challenge and responsibility of leadership that awaits me at the University of Virginia,” Leitao said. “I look forward to establishing a standard of commitment to excellence that will enhance the life of every student athlete who becomes a member of the Virginia basketball family. I thank God, my family and the people involved in this process, in particular President John Casteen, Athletics Director Craig Littlepage, and my wife Joyce.

“I also thank DePaul University and recognize Jean Lenti Ponsetto for what they have done for my family and me. DePaul will always have a special place in my heart.”

Prior to becoming the head coach at DePaul, Leitao was the associate head coach at the University of Connecticut for six seasons (1996-2002) under head coach Jim Calhoun. Connecticut had an overall record of 156-51 (.754) in those six seasons, won the NCAA Championship in 1999, and participated in a postseason tournament each year. The Huskies played in the NCAA Tournament three other times during that six-year period, advancing to the Elite Eight twice and once to the second round, and played in the NIT twice.

Leitao spent two seasons (1994-96) as the head coach at his alma mater, Northeastern University, and he was an assistant coach at Connecticut for eight seasons from 1986-1994.

Leitao began his coaching career as an assistant coach under Calhoun at Northeastern in 1984. He moved to Connecticut when Calhoun became the Huskies’ head coach in the spring of 1986.

The 44-year-old Leitao earned his bachelor’s degree in business administration in 1983 at Northeastern, where he played four years of basketball, leading the team to America East Conference championships and appearances in the NCAA Tournament in both 1981 and 1982.

Leitao and his wife Joyce have three sons.

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