DePaul athletics director Jean Lenti Ponsetto announced today that Oliver Purnell has been named men’s basketball coach. Purnell brings 22 years of head coaching experience to Lincoln Park including the past seven seasons at Clemson University. He is the 13th head coach in DePaul basketball history.
Purnell inherited a Clemson program in 2003 following stints at Dayton, Old Dominion and Radford. After a 10-18 record during his first campaign in 2003-2004, he led the Tigers to six straight postseason appearances including each of the last three NCAA Tournaments. Clemson is just one of 21 programs nationally, including BIG EAST members Louisville, Marquette, Pittsburgh, Villanova and West Virginia, to make three straight NCAA appearances.
In the past four seasons, Purnell’s .694 winning percentage is third in the ACC with only Mike Krzyzewski of Duke and North Carolina’s Roy Williams posting higher winning percentages in that span. The 2009-2010 squad finished at 21-11 with the program’s third straight NCAA Tournament appearance. Clemson also finished the season with 301 steals in 32 games to rank among the nation’s best for the sixth straight year. Purnell compiled a record of 138-88 (.613) during his seven-year tenure at Clemson while the program improved its winning percentage in five straight seasons from 2004-09.
From an honors standpoint, Purnell has been named conference Coach of the Year in three different Division I conferences. He was also the 2009 District III USBWA Coach of the Year and one of 10 finalists for the Henry Iba Award, presented annually to the nation’s top head coach.
Additionally, he was a coach prominently involved in the USA Basketball program for nearly 10 years. Teams he was affiliated with in the USA Basketball program as a head coach or assistant coach accumulated a 45-4 record and won five gold medals in international competition. He was an assistant coach under Larry Brown on the United States Olympic team in Greece in 2004.
A native of Berlin, Md., Purnell was born May 19, 1953. He and his wife Vicky have two children: Olivia, who graduated from the University of Southern California in 2004 and earned a master’s degree from NYU in 2007, and Lindsay, who graduated from Boston College in May 2007 and is currently enrolled in the Wake Forest School of Law.