DePaul students, alumni buy ad calling for firing of athletic director

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Some fans are calling on university officials to fire Jean Lenti Ponsetto. | Paul Beaty/Associated Press

While Loyola’s fan base is celebrating the Ramblers’ first NCAA Tournament berth since 1985, DePaul’s is fed up with the state of the Blue Demons’ program.

DePaul ended a disappointing 11-20 season with a loss last week to Marquette in the Big East tournament, and some fans have had enough.

A group of ‘‘concerned students and alumni’’ purchased a full-page ad in the Sunday Sun-Times, calling on the university to fire athletic director Jean Lenti Ponsetto.

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‘‘Fans and students are entitled to voice their opinions, but not everyone may agree with it,’’ a statement released by the school said. ‘‘Our men’s basketball team is a fine group of student-athletes who are terrific ambassadors for our university. All of our student-athletes make us proud every day with their many accomplishments — both in athletic competitions and in the classroom.’’

After making 13 NCAA Tournament appearances in a 15-year span, DePaul has reached the tourney only twice since 1992, most recently in 2004.

The ad, which was paid for by a GoFundMe campaign, broke down DePaul basketball in the last 15 years and claimed Ponsetto was the one ‘‘common thread’’ for the program’s problems, including 11 losing seasons and 233 total losses.

Ponsetto has hired three coaches to lead the men’s team since she was named the Demons’ athletic director in 2002. Most recently, she rehired coach Dave Leitao in 2015.

Leitao has won only 29 games in the last three seasons.

Follow me on Twitter @madkenney.

Email: mkenney@suntimes.com

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