David Antonio Leitao Jr. (born May 18, 1960) is an American college basketball coach at DePaul University. He is in his second tenure as head coach the after leading the DePaul Blue Demons men's basketball program from 2002 to 2005. He has previously been the head coach of the Maine Red Claws of the NBA Development League, the University of Virginia, and his alma mater; Northeastern University. He was named the 2006–07 Atlantic Coast Conference Coach of the Year by the Associated Press, but finished at 10th and 11th place in the conference during his final two years with the Virginia Cavaliers. He resigned as the Virginia basketball coach on March 18, 2009. Leitao is Cape Verdean American. He was the first coach of African descent to coach any varsity sport in University of Virginia history.
|Born||May 18, 1960|
New Bedford, Massachusetts
|Coaching career (HC unless noted)|
|2011–2012||Maine Red Claws|
|Head coaching record|
|Tournaments||2–2 (NCAA Division I)|
|Accomplishments and honors|
|C-USA regular season (2004)|
ACC regular season (2007)
|ACC Coach of the Year (2007)|
The 6'7" forward was recruited by Jim Calhoun to play basketball at Northeastern University. From 1978 to 1982 Leitao played at Northeastern, where he averaged 6.0 points and 5.4 rebounds per game. The teams made it to the NCAA tournament twice, and posted an overall 79-34 record. Leitao is a member of the Omicron chapter of Iota Phi Theta fraternity.
Early coaching careerEdit
Leitao was recruited by Calhoun to join his staff at Northeastern University in 1984, and followed him to the University of Connecticut as an assistant from 1986 to 1994. He returned to serve as head coach at his alma mater, Northeastern University, from 1994 to 1996. Leitao returned to Calhoun's staff for six seasons, including the Huskies national championship in 1999.
In 2002, he secured the head coaching position at DePaul University after the departure of Pat Kennedy; in a three-year stint on the Chicago campus. He led DePaul in two trips to the NIT and a trip to the NCAA Tournament.
Leitao was hired by the University of Virginia prior to the 2005-2006 basketball season. He became the first person of African descent to coach any varsity sport in Virginia Cavaliers history. Leitao was hired by Virginia's Craig Littlepage, the first African-American athletics director in ACC history. In his first year at Virginia, Leitao led the Cavaliers to a 15–15 (7–9 ACC) record and a berth in the NIT.
His first season at UVA, with only seven scholarship players, Virginia was picked last in the ACC by reporters, but surprised the ACC finishing at 7–9 tied for 7th place. Getting contributions from little known front court players including Jason Cain and Tunji Soroye, Virginia was able to upset #23 North Carolina on Jan. 19. Most of the season's success was due to All-ACC first team Sean Singletary, who carried the team with JR Reynolds. This year also marked the last year at University Hall for the Cavaliers. Labeled as the "Last Ball At U-Hall", Virginia was ready to move into the new state of the art John Paul Jones Arena right next door. This marked the end of an era that Ralph Sampson built, bringing flashbacks and reunions to mark the final season at University Hall. The year finished with a disappointing loss to Maryland to close out U-Hall and a blowout loss at Stanford in the NIT. At this point, things were looking up for Leitao and the Virginia Cavaliers. With its core returning and a new group of recruits, Virginia looked to turn its fortunes around in 2006–07.
Leitao started his second year with the opening of the new John Paul Jones arena and an upset win over Arizona. Led by Sean Singletary and J. R. Reynolds, Virginia finished with an 11–5 conference record and a share of the ACC regular season title with North Carolina. Memorable wins came over Duke, with Sean Singletary's fadeaway floater and stare on ESPN, while memorable losses came in Puerto Rico and last place Wake Forest. This was Leitao's best year with the Cavaliers. On March 6, 2007, Leitao was voted as the 2007 ACC Coach of the Year by the Associated Press in conjunction with the Atlantic Coast Sports Media Association. Two days later, the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) named Dave Leitao the 2007 District 5 Coach of the Year. In the NCAA Tournament, the #4 seeded Cavaliers defeated the University at Albany in the first round in an 84–57 rout. In the second round, Sean Singletary's last-second shot bounced off the rim and the Cavaliers were defeated by the University of Tennessee in a 77–74 loss. The team completed the 2006-2007 season with a record of 21–11 (11–5 ACC).
Leitao's third season (2007–2008) was marked with close losses and early injuries to the team's top two frontcourt players, Tunji Soroye and Laurynas Mikalauskas; the two injured players only appeared in two games and sixteen games, respectively. The team attained a 4–3 record with Mikalauskas in the line-up versus a 1–8 record with him injured. Without these two players, the Cavaliers proceeded to lose seven games by two points or less or in overtime; the team ended the season with a record of 17–16 (5–11 ACC). However, as injured players began to return to the team, the Cavaliers won six of their final ten games, and advanced to the semifinals of the inaugural College Basketball Invitational.
In Leitao's fourth year (2008–09), Virginia was the unanimous pick for last place in the ACC. In December, UVA looked as if they were going to be the surprise of the ACC with their first ACC win coming at Georgia Tech. However, Georgia Tech was the surprise finishing last with UVA coming in 11th place at 4–12 in the league. Leitao's frustrated team was led by Sylven Landesberg who averaged 16.8 points per game and captured the ACC Rookie of the Year award. Other notables: Assane Sene missed early and late parts of the season with ankle injuries while showing some promise as a young defensive stopper. Sammy Zeglinski, Leitao's first recruit, gained valuable experience at point guard after being red-shirted in 2007–08 with an ankle injury. Overall, fans were quite discouraged with the lack of improvements and player rotation. 4th year Mamadi Diane's career hit the lowest point during a 4-game stretch where he did not log a single minute. However, he did return for 23 points in his Senior Day finale and 24 points in the first round loss to BC in the ACC tournament. Leitao resigned as head coach on March 16, 2009 at the conclusion of a 10–18 season and 11th-place finish in the ACC. The 10–18 season was Virginia's worst season since the 1967–68 season, when the team posted a 9–17 record. Leitao would be paid $2.1 million in a contract buyout by the University of Virginia.
Maine Red ClawsEdit
On July 21, 2011, Leitao was named head coach of the Maine Red Claws of the NBA Development League. Leitao left the Red Claws after one season to become an assistant coach at the University of Missouri under Frank Haith.
Return to DePaulEdit
Following the March 2015 resignation of head coach Oliver Purnell, DePaul hired Leitao to lead the program for the second time. The Blue Demons won only 9 games in both the 2015–16 and 2016-17 seasons, the first two of Leitao's latest tenure at the school. In his third season, the Blue Demons improved slightly, winning 11 games.
The 2018–2019 season, Leitao's fourth, saw a turnaround for DePaul as the Blue Demons finished with a 19-17 overall record. Leitao's squad won their tenth game before mid-January with a non-conference schedule ranked last in the Big East. The season also saw the Blue Demons beat a ranked opponent for the first time in several years, winning 79-71 against No. 24 St. John's, who was playing without its best player, Shamorie Ponds. Following the regular season, the Blue Demons were invited to the 2019 College Basketball Invitational tournament. The team finished as runner-up to the University of South Florida Bulls. In the Best of Three Championship series, DePaul beat South Florida in game 2, but dropped games one and three to the Bulls to give DePaul a second place finish in the tournament.
In the 2019-2020 season, Leitao began the season suspended due to a recruiting violation in connection with a former player. He made his season debut at Iowa following assistant Tim Anderson coaching the Blue Demons to three straight wins. He won nine of his first ten games of the season including an upset at Iowa and an exciting overtime win against Texas Tech at home. After coaching DePaul to 9 of its 12 non-conference wins and only losing a single non-conference game, Leitao coached the team to a 3-15 conference record, enough to land the team in last place of the Big East conference for the fourth consecutive season. Leitao won a Big East Tournament game for the first time ever, beating Xavier 71-67. The remainder of the tournament would be cancelled the next day due to concerns over the coronavirus. While DePaul won 16 games this season, only 13 of those wins are attributable to Dave Leitao's head coaching record, as he was suspended for and did not coach in three of DePaul's wins. Following the season, DePaul extended Leitao's contract through the 2023-24 season.
Head coaching recordEdit
|Northeastern Huskies (North Atlantic Conference) (1994–1996)|
|Northeastern:||22–35 (.386)||12–22 (.353)|
|DePaul Blue Demons (Conference USA) (2002–2005)|
|2002–03||DePaul||16–13||8–8||T–6th||NIT First Round|
|2003–04||DePaul||22–10||12–4||1st||NCAA Division I Second Round|
|2004–05||DePaul||20–11||10–6||T–4th||NIT Second Round|
|Virginia Cavaliers (Atlantic Coast Conference) (2005–2009)|
|2005–06||Virginia||15–15||7–9||T–7th||NIT First Round|
|2006–07||Virginia||21–11||11–5||T–1st||NCAA Division I Second Round|
|Virginia:||63–60 (.512)||27–37 (.422)|
|DePaul Blue Demons (Big East Conference) (2015–present)|
|2018–19||DePaul||19–17||7–11||T-8th (last)||CBI Runner-up|
|DePaul:||123–134 (.479)||49–93 (.345)|
Postseason invitational champion
- Goodman, Jeff (March 18, 2009). "Leitao out as Virginia coach after subpar season". Archived from the original on April 18, 2009. Retrieved April 8, 2009.
- "To Know Leitao is to Appreciate a Special Human Being". DePaul Blue Demons. May 13, 2015. Retrieved January 22, 2019.
- "Leitao named 'Hoos first African-American head coach". virginia.edu. 2005. Archived from the original on October 2, 2012. Retrieved August 27, 2013.
- Red Claws hire Dave Leitao as head coach, accessed July 22
- Leitao joins Tigers Archived March 3, 2016, at the Wayback Machine, accessed June 17, 2012
- Dave Leitao returns as head coach at DePaul , accessed April 23, 2015
- With Ponds out, No. 24 St. John's loses 79-71 to DePaul, accessed January 13, 2019
- "It's official. Let the games begin!". College Basketball Invitational. Twitter. Retrieved April 30, 2019.
- "DePaul extends coach Dave Leitao's contract through 2023-24". ESPN. Associated Press. April 2, 2020. Retrieved April 5, 2020.