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updated: 2/11/2014 7:31 AM

What has happened to DePaul?

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  • Things have gone from bad to worse for DePaul coach Oliver Purnell and his Blue Demons.

      Things have gone from bad to worse for DePaul coach Oliver Purnell and his Blue Demons.
    Associated Press

 
By Mike North

I watched the DePaul Blue Demons the other night against Creighton with Doug McDermott, the 6-foot-8 phenom who right now is leading the popular vote in player-of-the-year honors.

DePaul, despite playing with effort, was no match for the surging Blue Jays, losing 78-66.

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But what I found truly sad was that I tuned in to see all-American McDermott play when years back I turned on the TV to watch DePaul.

From the mid-1970s to the mid-80s, I rarely missed a game. The Blue Demons had seven straight winning seasons from 1978-84.

The shame is that now no one seems to care anymore about DePaul basketball. It's hard to believe that at one time this storied program actually was bigger than the Bulls.

In 1979, when Hall of Fame coach Ray Meyer and Chicago all-star Mark Aguirre got this team to the Final Four, they were ranked No. 1 in the nation and consistently featured on WGN television.

What has happened to this bottom-feeder program is not the story. What is the story is that it was allowed to happen.

At that time, the basketball team was the golden goose and the biggest thing in town, yet the current team under coach Oliver Purnell now plays at home in front of empty seats or seats filled by opposing fans.

DePaul has lost six in a row, and the arrow is pointing so down that it might as well be underground.

Their record is 2-9 in Big East play, 10-14 overall.

What happened?

The school has plans for a new arena, but no one cares unless the taxpayers get hit with the bill.

Maybe then the public should have some say in how the team runs.

Unfortunately, DePaul basketball is a rudderless ship. The golden days of players such as Dave Corzine, Randy Ramsey, Terry Cummings, Mark Aguirre, Gary Garland and, yes, even Dallas Comegys are a distant memory.

Sit the young kids down and tell them to Google DePaul men's basketball from the 70s and 80s. They would be stunned at what they would see compared to now.

Oh, by the way, it didn't take a rocket scientist to predict what would happen to DePaul basketball once it joined the Big East.

Disaster.

Decisions like that and the hiring of Purnell just boggle the mind. If a goof like me knew they were bad moves, what does it say about the people running the show?

The program is barely breathing. Bye bye, golden goose.

Program notes:

Listen to Foxsports Daybreak with Andy Furman and Mike North Monday-Friday from 5-8 a.m. on Fox sports radio and Sunday mornings from 7-11 a.m. Check me out on iHeart radio or FoxSportsradio.com.

Thanks for all of your responses on your top-5 favorite sports movies. I'll share some of the answers with you Friday.

• Mike North's column appears each Tuesday and Friday in the Daily Herald, and his video commentary can be found Monday, Wednesday and Thursday at dailyherald.com. For more, visit northtonorth.com.

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