New Blue Demons coach promises hardworking team

Updated: April 28, 2005, 6:20 PM ET
Associated Press

CHICAGO -- DePaul coach Jerry Wainwright outlaid his vision for the Big East-bound Blue Demons on Thursday during his first news conference with his new team.

Wainwright, the team's 11th head coach, expects his players to work hard, avoid turnovers and stay upbeat.

"This is an environment of effort," Wainwright said.

The former Richmond coach takes over for Dave Leitao, who left for Virginia earlier this month. Wainwright went 50-41 in three seasons with the Spiders.

"We're here to compete, we're here to win," he said. "[Opponents] have to trust every time you play them you are bringing your best."

Leitao helped lead DePaul basketball back to respectability for the first time since coaching great Ray Meyer left in 1984, and DePaul athletic director Jean Lenti Ponsetto expects Wainwright to build on that success.

"He is fully prepared for the challenges of the Big East Conference, and I know he will have our team ready to compete on a daily basis," she said.

DePaul, along with Conference USA rivals Louisville, Cincinnati, Marquette and South Florida, will move to the Big East this fall.

Freshman guard Marcus Malone said he did a little research when he learned that Wainwright was going to be the team's next coach.

"Everything I learned about him was positive," Malone said. "He adapts to his players, he's a great teacher. I like him so far. I'll give all I got."

Before coaching at Richmond, Wainwright coached North Carolina-Wilmington for eight years, leading the team to the NCAA Tournament in 2002 and an upset of Southern California in the first round. During the 2003-2004 season, his Richmond club upset Kansas at Allen Fieldhouse and earned an at-large bid to the tournament.

Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press