Purnell hire shocks area coaches

DePaul athletic director Jean Lenti Ponsetto is taking some criticism for not hiring someone with strong Chicago ties. Amy Sussman/Getty Images

CHICAGO -- The Chicago area's top high school and AAU basketball coaches have nothing against Oliver Purnell, who took over as DePaul's men's head basketball coach on Tuesday.

They just don't know him.

And that's the problem some of them have with DePaul hiring Purnell away from Clemson.

"I've been CEO of the Fire for the past five years," said Mike Irvin, whose AAU team possesses a good portion of the area's top talent. "I've been at my father's side for the last 15 years assisting him with the team. I've never seen him. I've never seen a Clemson coach. That's bad, because in Chicago it's about the relationships, the ties. Chicago's a different animal, a different city.

"The mistake that [DePaul athletic director] Jean Lenti Ponsetto keeps making is she gets coaches who can't recruit Chicago. Maybe they want to recruit the South. Maybe they don't believe the Chicago players are good enough. Basically, my point is I guess they don't need Chicago. I don't understand how you don't need Chicago when you're in the middle of Chicago."

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