The DePaul Women's Basketball season is about a month away, but I am gearing up for it already. Last season was my first full season "On the Beat" with the Blue Demons and I am returning for the 2019-20 season.
Last season, the Blue Demons went 26-8 and won the Big East Conference title. Unfortunately, their season ended with a loss to Missouri State in the NCAA tournament. Despite the disappointing loss, it was still a very successful season. The Blue Demons go into this season with high expectations.
For the Blue Demons, it all starts with longtime coach Doug Bruno. Three years after playing fr DePaul, Bruno became head coach of the Blue Demons women's team. After two seasons, he left to coach the Chicago Hustle, a professional women's team. He returned to DePaul two seasons later in 1981 and has remained a fixture on campus since then. He has compiled an outstanding record of 674–337 (.667).
While covering the team, I got to see Bruno up close before, during and after games. I really got to appreciate his coaching approach and his overall personality. During an early stretch last season when the team was scuffling, Bruno put the onus on the team to dig deep. The team responded with a surge through the end of the season. It was great motivation without throwing his team under the bus.
On a more personal note, Bruno always greeted and thanked the reporters. I have seen many coaches treat the press like barely necessary evils. Coach Bruno embraced the press. He encouraged and appreciated the coverage. As a coach for such an underappreciated sport like women's basketball, Coach Bruno knew he had to also be part promo person. He did a great job of spreading positivity, while still being realistic.
I saw Coach Bruno at several; other events after the season and he always greeted me warmly. It was good seeing him support the DePaul women's softball team, another underappreciated team.
I am looking forward to a lot of great basketball action at DePaul again this season. They have a lot of talent and Bruno will always have them in contention.
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Doug Bruno and me in Chicago, IL-March 2019.