Let’s Speculate! Potential DePaul head coach candidates

Welcome to Let’s Speculate! on Coaches Database, where we go through programs that have or may fired their head coach and speculate who they may hire as a replacement.

Today’s program is DePaul, led by head coach Dave Leitao for the last six seasons (fired on March 15).

  • Dennis Gates – Cleveland State head coach
    • Gates has been a name for every major conference opening in the Midwest and has yet to take a new job, but it won’t be long before he does. He’s a Chicago-native who has done a fantastic job rebuilding Cleveland State from 10-21 the year before he took over to the 2021 NCAA Tournament in just his second year. Spent eight years at Florida State and also stints at Marquette and Northern Illinois on his resume.
  • Brian Wardle – Bradley head coach
    • After winning just 5 games in his first season in Peoria, Wardle just wrapped up his third-straight 20+ win season at Bradley. The Braves went to the NCAA Tournament in 2019 and punched a ticket in 2020 following back-to-back MVC Tournament crowns. He’s from the Chicago suburbs, played and coached at Marquette and had already built up one program as a head coach (Green Bay) before arriving at Bradley in 2015 to do the same. At only 41 years old, Wardle’s track record of improving programs is pretty unique in mid-major basketball and it won’t be long before a high-major program makes him their guy.
  • Porter Moser – Loyola Chicago head coach
    • The 2018 Final Four was certainly no flash in the pan, as Moser has the Ramblers back in the Big Dance this year by way of another MVC title. Moser (and Sister Jean) burst onto the national scene when Loyola made their magical run three years ago but what’s more impressive is the sustained success that he has built within the program. DePaul would be Moser’s third head coaching job in the Land of Lincoln, as he led the Illinois State Redbirds from 2003-07.
  • Scott Nagy – Wright State head coach
    • After a very successful tenure at South Dakota State, going to NCAA Tournaments in both D-II and D-I, Nagy landed the Wright State gig in 2016 and started winning right away. Went to the 2018 NCAA, the 2019 NIT and the (cancelled) 2020 NIT, a third postseason berth in four years with the Raiders. Nagy went to high school in central Illinois and has been an assistant at both Illinois and SIU Edwardsville.
  • Jon Scheyer – Duke associate head coach
    • Before becoming a quintessential Duke player in the late 2000s, Scheyer was a suburban basketball legend at Glenbrook North HS. After an eye injury redirected his pro career overseas, Scheyer joined Coach K’s staff as a special assistant in 2013. He was elevated to associate head coach in 2018 and while he is a key member of the Duke staff and Krzyzewski Coaching Tree, there are a number of others before him on the list of potential heirs at Duke. So if Scheyer’s coaching future lies elsewhere, why not give him a shot at the hometown school with not a whole lot to lose? If you can’t grab an existing head coach, Scheyer’s local ties and basketball pedigree make him an exciting option.
  • Luke Yaklich – UIC head coach
    • He may be in just his first year at UIC, but Yaklich is primed to get a high-major coaching job in the near future. He has regional ties, hailing from La Salle, IL and graduating from Illinois State, and coached at a number of Chicago-area high schools (most recently winning a 4A regional title at Joliet West in 2013) before making the jump to college. Spent time coaching at Illinois State, Michigan and Texas before becoming the Flames’ head coach in March 2020.
  • Orlando Antigua – Illinois assistant coach
  • James Whitford – Ball State head coach
    • Whitford has had success as the head coach at Ball State across the border in Indiana. His Cardinals have claimed three MAC West titles in the last five years and were likely on their way to a third CIT berth over that timeframe in 2020. Before Ball State, he spent eight seasons working under Sean Miller at Xavier and Arizona and eleven years in various roles for Charlie Coles at Miami (OH). He is a Midwestern guy, serving as a student manager at Wisconsin in the early 1990s.
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