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Monday, October 20, 2014
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Missouri fills staff with assistant Leitao

Missouri men’s basketball coach Frank Haith rounded out his staff for the 2012-2013 season with the announcement of hiring Dave Leitao on Friday. Leitao fills the assistant post left by Ernie Nestor, who took a position at Navy.

Leitao holds an overall record of 143-129 as a head coach at Northeastern (1994-1996), DePaul (2002-2005) and Virginia (2005-2009). He won the Atlantic Coast Conference championship in 2004 and in 2007, the season he was named the league’s coach of the year.

He comes to Columbia after serving one season of coaching the Main Red Claws of the NBA’s Developmental League.

“I really appreciate this opportunity to join coach Haith's staff here and can't imagine a better place to continue my coaching career than here at Mizzou,” Leitao said in a news release. “You see everything that has taken place on this campus over recent years and you can't help but to be excited about the momentum we have going forward."

The 52-year-old rose up the coaching ranks from his success as an assistant at Connecticut, where he was on staff for 14 seasons under Jim Calhoun. He was on staff when the Huskies won the national championship in 1999.

“Dave was a guy I really enjoyed playing against,” said Haith, who coached at Miami while Leitao was at Virginia, in a release. “You knew his teams would play tough, physical and would really attack you every possession.”

In the release, Haith said Leitao “brings a wealth of knowledge” and mentioned that Leitao helped recruit key players on Connecticut’s title team. Leitao played a key role in the recruitment of players like Ray Allen, Richard Hamilton, Emeka Okafor, former Huskies now late into their NBA careers.

Leitao has been by Calhoun's side for much of his collegiate basketball experiences. Calhoun recruited Leitao, the 6-foot-7-inch forward, to play at Northeastern (1978-1982), where Calhoun began his Hall of Fame coaching career. Leitao was named team captain in his final two seasons playing, each time leading making the NCAA Tournament.

“I’ve known Dave so long, he’s practically a member of my family,” Calhoun said in the release. "As a player, he was a great leader and he came with me from day one at UConn to help build a program, so he obviously shares in an awful lot of the success we've been fortunate enough to achieve.”

Echoing Haith, Calhoun said Leitao would bring valuable experience to Missouri.

“What Dave adds to the Missouri staff is a coach who has seen everything from building a program, to recruiting at the highest level, to winning national championships, to developing young men into players who can succeed at the next level,” Calhoun said in the release. “He has first-hand experience in every phase of college basketball and there is no doubt in my mind that he will be a tremendous asset to coach Haith's staff. I wish him nothing but great success at Missouri."

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