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DePaul fires coach Tony Stubblefield after two-plus seasons

DePaul head coach Tony Stubblefield calls out to his team during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Creighton in Chicago, Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2024. Creighton won 84-58.(AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

CHICAGO (AP) — DePaul fired coach Tony Stubblefield on Monday after he was unable to turn around a once-proud program that has struggled in recent decades.

The Blue Demons were 28-54 overall and 9-38 in Big East play in two-plus seasons under Stubblefield. They're headed to their fourth straight losing season, with a 3-15 record and 0-7 mark in the conference.

DePaul has dropped 20 of 21 games against Big East opponents, counting the league tournament, since beating then-No. 8 Xavier on Jan. 18, 2023. Stubblefield's final game was a loss at Butler on Saturday.

“After evaluating the current state of our men’s basketball program, a decision was made to make a change in the head coaching position,” athletic director DeWayne Peevy said. “We want to thank Coach Stubblefield for his hard work and determination over the last two-plus seasons to move our basketball program forward through a new era for DePaul Athletics. Unfortunately, we did not meet our goals.”

Matt Brady, special assistant to the head coach, takes over on an interim basis.

A longtime assistant under Dana Altman at Oregon, Stubblefield was Peevy's first major hire when he took over for the fired Dave Leitao in April 2021. But he was unable to restore a program that once ruled winters in Chicago.

DePaul has not played in the NCAA Tournament since 2004, when Leitao was in his first tenure leading the Blue Demons. They have finished with a losing record in Big East play in all but one season since entering the league in 2005 and are on course to finish last in the conference for the 12th time in 16 years despite Chicago's fertile recruiting ground.

They also have been overshadowed in the city in recent seasons by Loyola Chicago, another Catholic school on the city’s North Side. The Ramblers made the Final Four in 2018, reached the Sweet 16 in 2021 and played in the NCAA Tournament in 2022.

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AP college basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-basketball-poll and https://apnews.com/hub/college-basketball