CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. -- Dave Leitao was hired as Virginia's basketball coach Saturday, leaving DePaul for the Atlantic Coast
Conference and hoping to revive a team that went 14-15 last season.
He succeeds Pete Gillen, who resigned under pressure after seven
seasons and just one NCAA Tournament appearance. Leitao agreed to a
five-year contract at $925,000 annually.
The 44-year-old Leitao becomes the first black head coach at
Virginia in any sport.
The university scheduled a news conference for Sunday to
introduce Leitao. DePaul athletic director Jean Lenti Ponsetto had
said Friday that Leitao accepted the Virginia job.
"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," Leitao said
in statement released by the Virginia athletic department.
Ponsetto commended Leitao on Saturday for his "tremendous
class, integrity and dedication to producing student-athletes." He
added that DePaul will immediately begin looking for a new coach.
Leitao's DePaul teams went 58-34 over three years and played in
the postseason each year. DePaul was 20-11 last season and advanced
to the second round of the NIT.
"DePaul will always have a special place in my heart," Leitao
He is now charged with energizing a program about to enter its
most ambitious period ever. The school plans to open the $130
million, 15,000-seat John Paul Jones Arena for the 2006 season.
Virginia athletic director Craig Littlepage did not say how much
Virginia paid to buy out the final six years of Leitao's contract
at DePaul, where he was making $660,000 a year.
Leitao's compensation at Virginia will be slightly more than the
$900,000 a year Gillen was making. Gillen stepped down with six
years remaining on a 10-year contract and received a $2 million
buyout March 14.
Leitao also spent two seasons as coach at his alma mater,
Northeastern, and did two stints as an assistant to Connecticut
coach Jim Calhoun. Calhoun has praised his protege to Virginia
president John T. Casteen III, who was president at Connecticut
before moving to Virginia.
Casteen called Leitao "one of the country's most highly
regarded young coaches."
"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," Casteen said.