DePaul basketball fans should be comforted by the fact that this season, where the Blue Demons only won seven games while losing 24 and were outscored by 12.9 points per 100 possessions, will be the worst season the program has while Oliver Purnell is the head coach.
Based on what took place at each of his three previous coaching stops, there are only brighter days ahead for DePaul basketball.
It was at Old Dominion, a program Purnell took over in the 1991-92 season, where he first displayed the trend that continues to this day. In his first year as head coach, Purnell led his team to a .500 record of 15 victories and 15 defeats. Purnell then followed that up by coaching his 1992-93 squad to a 21-8 record and his 1993-94 team to a record of 21-10.
Leaving Old Dominion, Purnell took his coaching acumen to Dayton, where his team posted a record of only 7-20 in his first season. Never again did the Dayton Flyers have a season where they played as poorly as they did in 1994-95.
After the nine seasons Purnell spent turning Dayton into a consistently winning program, to the point where the Flyers went 24-6 in his final season as their coach, Clemson received the benefits of having Purnell roaming the sidelines.
In what has become his modus operandi, Purnell's Clemson squad struggled in his first season, only winning 10 games and losing 18 games. For no other season did Clemson have a record with a winning percentage under .500.
With that sort of coaching track record in turning previously mediocre programs into winning ones, it is no great leap to expect that Purnell will be able to do the same thing with the DePaul Blue Demons. Of course, it is worth nothing that all the wins Purnell leads DePaul to will not result in any NCAA tournament success. None of Purnell's teams have ever gotten past the first round of the tournament.
Even with his multiple tournament failures providing the only blemish to his coaching résumé, DePaul certainly hired the right man for the job, and hopefully DePaul's opponents enjoyed the dominance they had over the Blue Demons this season, because it will not be that easy to beat them again while Purnell is their head coach.