DePaul extends AD Jean Lenti Ponsetto

DePaul athletic director Jean Lenti Ponsetto signed a five-year contract extension, the school announced on Tuesday.

Ponsetto was hired as athletic director on July 1, 2002 and is now signed through the 2016-17 academic year.

“Jean Lenti Ponsetto is among the most respected athletics directors in the United States,” DePaul president Fr. Dennis H. Holtschneider said in a statement. “The NCAA, the BIG EAST and other athletic conferences turn to her constantly for advice and counsel. ESPN, CBS and other networks turn to her to understand developments in collegiate athletics and recently she received the Trailblazer Award by NACWAA from her peers.”

Ponsetto’s contributions to the school have included fundraising more than $13 million, creating 25 endowed scholarships and renaming McGrath-Phillips Arena. Fourteen of the 15 DePaul athletic programs have reached the NCAA championships during her tenure. DePaul also joined the Big East in 2005.

The school’s two most high-profile programs, the men’s and women’s basketball programs, have gone in different directions during Ponsetto’s tenure. The women’s program, which is coached by Doug Bruno, has been to 10 consecutive NCAA tournaments. The men’s program, which has been coached by Dave Leitao, Jerry Wainwright, Tracy Webster and, currently, Oliver Purnell, has been to one NCAA tournament since Ponsetto was hired.

More than 1,200 DePaul student-athletes have been named to the conference academic honor rolls during Ponsetto’s tenure. DePaul had a Big East-best five teams earn an Academic Excellence Award in the last two years.

Ponsetto is also former four-sport student-athlete and women’s basketball assistant coach at DePaul.