It is always hard to admit that something you really are passionate about becomes a waste of time and energy. I grew up in the Chicagoland Area during a wonderful time in sports history. The Chicago Bears were starting their first run towards a Super Bowl with Walter Payton, the 1984 Chicago Cubs almost brought home a championship, the Chicago Bulls drafted Michael Jordan and DePaul University was one of the nation’s premier college basketball programs. I was such a huge DePaul fan that I received my degree from the school. Little did I know that it was the beginning of the end of that program. Last night’s horrific effort at home against Gardner Webb in front of a microscopic crowd was the final nail in the coffin.
For those of you that know me, I am a huge critic of DePaul’s athletic director Jean Lenti-Ponsetto (read here). I feel that she lacks vision or the ability to make this into a first-class program. But it has to go higher than just her. Considering DePaul’s president Dennis H. Holtschneider, C.M. extended her contract and continues to be her biggest supporter tells me that the whole school just doesn’t get it. I’ve written him numerous emails voicing my concerns with the direction of the program. Most of his responses tell me that he doesn’t have a clue when it comes to athletics. His actions prove it.
DePaul men’s basketball coach Oliver Purnell is a nice man. I’ve met him on several occasions and really have enjoyed talking with him. But as a coach, he really just isn’t very good. DePaul tries to play an uptempo style of basketball without the horses to run the system. There cannot be a worse defending or rebounding team in the country than DePaul. Because of Lenti-Ponsetto’s refusal to fire the previous coach Jerry Wainwright, DePaul had to way overpay for Purnell’s services. He was the only coach with any sort of stature that would have taken this job. It’s now year three of Purnell and things are as bad if not worse than they were under Wainwright.
I’ve maintained my season tickets because my son likes to attend games and I live less than 15 minutes from the Allstate Arena. If there’s a worse arena for a college program than this one that’s located almost 30 miles away from the actual campus please tell me. It gives DePaul no home court advantage and I cannot image there’s many recruits that view this as a selling point. Look no further than this as a summary of how bad it really is with this program.
I’ve decided to turn down my emotional investment in this program. If the school doesn’t care about putting a quality product on the court, why should I get too emotionally invested. I am happy to keep my tickets because I’ll give something back to the school, but other than that, I just have way too many other things that require my emotional investment. It’s too bad, because this program could have been great. Instead, we’re the laughing stock of college basketball.
You can follow me on Twitter @ChicagoBearJew.