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U-Va. Moves Quickly in Pursuit of DePaul's Leitao

By Mark Schlabach
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, April 9, 2005; Page D12

Virginia Athletics Director Craig Littlepage yesterday received permission to interview DePaul Coach Dave Leitao and there are indications Cavaliers officials didn't waste much time in meeting with him.

According to flight tracking data, the University of Virginia Foundation's Cessna jet flew from Charlottesville to Norfolk yesterday. Leitao, who is 58-34 in three seasons with the Blue Demons, was attending the Portsmouth Invitational, a basketball tournament of NBA draft hopefuls being held near Norfolk. The U-Va. Foundation plane then flew to Midway Airport in Chicago and returned to Charlottesville.

DePaul sports information director Scott Reed said Blue Demons Athletics Director Jean Lenti Ponsetto granted Littlepage permission to interview Leitao yesterday. Reed said Leitao was on DePaul's campus yesterday afternoon.

Leitao, who turns 44 next month, signed a six-year extension with DePaul last fall and the Chicago Sun-Times reported that the deal included a buyout of as much as $3 million.

Leitao did not return a telephone call seeking comment.

The Cavaliers are seeking a replacement for former coach Pete Gillen, who took a buyout after leading Virginia to only one NCAA tournament appearance in seven seasons.

Before he was hired at DePaul, Leitao was a longtime assistant at Connecticut when current Virginia President John T. Casteen III was president at the school. Leitao was Huskies Coach Jim Calhoun's associate head coach from 1996 to 2002. South Carolina Coach Dave Odom, a former Virginia assistant, remains a candidate for the position and might be Littlepage's top choice. Odom denied a Washington Post report this week that he had been offered the job, but has admitted having interest in the job and said he met with Littlepage during the Final Four in St. Louis.

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