DePaul Athletic Director Jean Lenti Ponsetto To Retire

She had been in her position for 18 years.

670 The Score Staff
June 05, 2020 - 8:41 am
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(670 The Score) DePaul athletic director Jean Lenti Ponsetto will retire in the "coming months," the school announced Friday morning.

WeAreDePaul.com was the first to report the news Thursday night.

Lenti Ponsetto has been in her position for 18 years and with the school for decades.

"Today is a bittersweet day for me and my husband, Joe," she said in a statement. "DePaul has been a part of our lives for the past 46 years. Our dearest and closest friends were teammates as we began our student-athlete journeys with in 1974. It truly has been our privilege and the honor of a lifetime to serve DePaul as athletic director and to witness the unprecedented growth from that  ‘little school under the L’ to its current world class University serving students from around the globe."

She will leave an the athletic department that has been plagued by controversy in recent years under her leadership. 

In April, news surfaced of a lawsuit being filed that accused former DePaul softball coach Eugene Lenti, Jean's brother, of punching an assistant in the face, verbally abusing his players and retaliating against the whisteblower by terminating her contract with the school. He allegedly avoided punishment because of his relation to Jean. 

In 2019, DePaul's men's basketball program went on probation and suspended coach Dave Leitao for three games for recruiting violations and playing an ineligible player. The Blue Demons men's basketball program hasn't made the NCAA Tournament since 2004.

The women's basketball program flourished during Lenti Ponsetto's tenure, as it's riding a streak of 17 straight NCAA Tournament appearances. She also oversaw the basketball teams' move to the new Wintrust Arena by the South Loop.

"I extend my heartfelt gratitude to all the current and former Blue Demons that chose DePaul to be the lifelong home of their transformational intellectual, athletic, spiritual and professional growth years," Lenti Ponsetto said. "I affirm my pride in the professional accomplishments and servant leadership of our Blue Demon letterwinners – the world will be a better place for their innumerable and immeasurable contributions. As well, any and every success we’ve had during my tenure has been the result of the incredible leadership, mentorship and commitment of our coaches and my athletics colleagues that have walked every step of this journey with me. They, along with our past and present Blue Demons, have been my everyday joy.

"The changing times over these past few months has led me to this decision. Having successfully battled two breast cancer diagnoses and currently in treatment for a third, I thought it was time to step away from the long days, working every weekend and the 24/7 demands that being an athletic director requires. I am incredibly grateful to the world-class medical team at Rush University Medical Center for their healing hands and hearts that have allowed me to continue my life’s work serving the DePaul community. Not unimportant in this decision for me was the opportunity to spend more time with our growing family and my 95-year-old dad who lives with Joe and I."

The university will conduct a national search for her replacement.