May 18, 1960 |
New Bedford, Massachusetts
|Coaching career (HC unless noted)|
|2011–2012||Maine Red Claws|
|Head coaching record|
|Accomplishments and honors|
|C-USA regular season championship (2004)
ACC regular season championship (2007)
|ACC Coach of the Year (2007)|
Dave Leitao (born May 18, 1960) is an American men's basketball coach who is currently the head coach at DePaul University, his second tenure with the school after leading the Blue Demons from 2002–2005. He has previously been the head coach of the Maine Red Claws of the NBA Development League, the University of Virginia and 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 Cavaliers. He resigned as the UVA basketball coach on March 18, 2009. Leitao is Cape Verdean American. He was the first African-American coach of any varsity sport in University of Virginia history.
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.
Early coaching career
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 1986–1994. He returned to serve as Head Coach at his alma mater, Northeastern, from 1994–1996. 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.
University of Virginia
Leitao was hired by the University of Virginia prior to the 2005-2006 basketball season. Upon his hiring, Leitao became the first Cape Verdean American head coach for the Virginia Cavaliers; he was the first African-American coach of any varsity sport in University of Virginia 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.
Leitao is known for his intense coaching, as well as the way he approaches officials during games.
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. 19th. 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 CBI postseason tournament.
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 will be paid $2.1 million in a contract buyout by the University of Virginia. 
Maine Red Claws
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 DePaul
Head coaching record
|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 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 Second Round|
|Virginia:||63–60 (.512)||27–37 (.422)|
|DePaul Blue Demons (Big East Conference) (2015–present)|
|DePaul:||67–56 (.545)||33–33 (.500)|
National champion Postseason invitational champion
- Goodman, Jeff (March 18, 2009). "Leitao out as Virginia coach after subpar season". Retrieved April 8, 2009.
- "Leitao named 'Hoos first African-American head coach". virginia.edu. 2005. Retrieved August 27, 2013.
- Red Claws hire Dave Leitao as head coach, accessed July 22
- Leitao joins Tigers , accessed June 17, 2012
- Dave Leitao returns as head coach at DePaul , accessed April 23, 2015