DePaul athletic director Jean Lenti Ponsetto informed the university she will retire in the coming months after 18 years at the helm.
"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 el' to its current world class University serving students from around the globe," Ponsetto said in a statement.
"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."
Ponsetto has been a member of DePaul's athletic department since 1974, when she was a four-sport athlete (tennis, volleyball, basketball, softball). After graduating in 1978, she became DePaul's first assistant women's basketball coach. She later spent seven years as the senior associate athletic director before taking over as AD in 2002.
Ponsetto guided DePaul into the Big East from Conference USA in 2003 and helped organize the new Big East in 2013. She oversaw the development of Wintrust Arena, now home to the basketball teams after decades of playing at the Allstate Arena in Rosemont.
The women's team has made 17 straight NCAA tournaments under head coach Doug Bruno. The men's team hasn't made the tournament since 2004 and has just two winning seasons since (2006-07, 2018-19). Ponsetto has hired three coaches in that span: Jerry Wainwright, Oliver Purnell and Dave Leitao - who is in his second stint as head coach.
The NCAA put DePaul's men's basketball program on probation for three years last summer due to a recruiting violation, of one two controversies to surround the athletic department in recent years. In April, a sports psychologist formerly affiliated with DePaul filed a lawsuit claiming she was terminated after raising concerns of former softball coach Eugene Lenti's abusive behavior towards players. Lenti is Lenti Ponsetto's brother.
Ponsetto will stay in her role and assist DePaul in its transition to a new AD. The university plans to conduct a national search for her replacement this summer.
DePaul athletic director Jean Lenti Ponsetto retiring after 18 years at helm originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago