Tony Stubblefield Boldly Aims to Make DePaul the Team of Chicago Again

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Newly minted DePaul coach Tony Stubblefield kept it 100 this morning, when he said: “we may have lost you along the way, and talk may be cheap right now, but we will become Chicago’s team again.”

The product launch of the Stubblefield era of DePaul Blue Demons basketball concluded a few minutes ago, and it was a media session that certainly had a very local theme. Stubblefield, and the Athletic Director who hired him, Dewayne Peevy made it absolutely crystal clear- they want to recruit Chicago hard, first and foremost.

Stubblefield said that whenever he looks at a coaching job, he focuses first on the physical area where the gig is located, and what kind of talent base is adjacent to it.

“We’ve recruited Chicago very very hard,” he said Wednesday.

“There is great talent in the city of chicago, the suburbs and the state of Illinois, and although we will recruit nationally, you have start in your own backyard.”

Peevy, who told the media he needed 30 days to find his new head coach, got it all done in less than 22 days. He described Coach Stubbs as an “elite recruiter,” who will “keep Chicago talent in Chicago,” an “area that will be pivotal in our success.”

Stubblefield also added that “recruiting is the lifeline of every college basketball program.”

Tony Stubblefield comes from Oregon, where he served as an assistant under Dana Altman. He’s also served as an asst. under Mick Cronin and Lou Henson at New Mexico State, where he served as interim head coach during the 2004–2005 season due to Henson’s illness.

Coach Stubbs described himself as “a Midwest guy,” as he hails from Clinton, Iowa. He began his playing career at Clinton Junior College, then transferred to Nebraska-Omaha. Tony Stubblefield said he grew up watching DePaul on WGN and channel 9, and he even said “channel 9” specifically.

It was back in those days, the 1980s, when Blue Demons basketball was televised regulary on Ch. 9, WGN, “Chicago’s Very Own.” This was when DePaul was at the height of their power, and most nationally relevant. This was also in a period of pre-Michael Jordan, and before the Blackhawks decided televising home games was a good thing.

Thus, DePaul was actually THE Chicago winter sports team at the time. It’s a very very long way back to something close to that level, but Peevy and Stubblefield will work really hard to try and get there.

“I want Depaul to be a team that other teams fear playing,” said Stubblefield. “I want people to say, after they’ve played us, I don’t want to see them again in the tournament.”

Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank, partnered with News NowBanks, the author of “No, I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry,” has regularly appeared in WGNSports IllustratedChicago Tribune and SB Nation. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram.

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