Sunday, January 10, 2010
Source: Wainwright out at DePaul
By Andy Katz ESPN.com
DePaul has decided Jerry Wainwright will not remain the head coach of the Blue Demons and will make the announcement at a news conference Monday morning, a source close to the situation confirmed to ESPN.com Sunday night.
It is unclear whether the school will fire Wainwright or he will resign.
DePaul sent out a news release Sunday saying it was holding an 11 a.m. CST news conference with DePaul athletic director Jean Lenti Ponsetto and Wainwright.
The source said that Wainwright wanted to be at Monday's news conference to discuss the future of the program.
The Chicago Tribune reported last week that a sideline collision in Wednesday's game at Villanova caused Wainwright to suffer a torn MCL and fractured tibia.
DePaul is off to a 0-3 start in the Big East, 7-8 overall, with some embarrassing losses like to American at home and to Florida Gulf Coast on the road.
The Blue Demons had to play eight games this season without their top returning big man Mac Koshwal. DePaul was 2-1 with him in the lineup, including handing Northern Iowa its only loss of the season in St. Thomas at the Paradise Jam on Nov. 20, but DePaul went 3-3 without him and then lost at FGCU with Koshwal, making it harder to use that as an excuse.
Ponsetto is expected to announce a new direction for the program and will go into detail about how Wainwright is exiting the job. She will also appoint an interim head coach for the rest of the season. Last offseason, Wainwright was forced to make major changes to his assistant coaching staff, going with coaches that had more Chicago ties.
DePaul may likely promote one of its assistant coaches, Tracy Webster or David Booth, to interim coach.
The Blue Demons went 0-18 in the Big East in 2008-09 season, finished 9-24 overall and lost top-scorer Dar Tucker to the NBA draft.
In his first season, Wainwright won 12 games overall, five of which were in the Big East. He then improved to 20 wins in his second season, winning nine in the Big East and reaching the NIT quarterfinals. Wainwright then slipped back, going 11-19 (6-12 in Big East) in his third year before last season's disastrous finish.
Wainwright replaced Dave Leitao, who left for Virginia in 2005, coming to DePaul with quite a pedigree. He coached UNC Wilmington to the NCAA tournament in 2000 and 2002 and Richmond to the NCAAs in 2004. Wainwright has had coaching stints with USA Basketball and consistently has been considered one of the more respected coaches in the game.
But, he could never find smooth sailing in the Big East at DePaul with injuries and early-entry defections as well as one of the harder homecourt atmospheres to create in the league, playing away from campus, near O'Hare Airport.
Andy Katz is a senior college basketball writer for ESPN.com.