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Bruno Uses Stealth in Claiming 600th Collegiate Victory
Doug Bruno celebrated his 600th collegiate coaching victory after Monday night's 74-65 triumph over Duke.

Doug Bruno celebrated his 600th collegiate coaching victory after Monday night's 74-65 triumph over Duke.

March 26, 2014

CHICAGO – The icing on the cake is what has Doug Bruno tickled pink.

A day or so after the Blue Demons upset No. 2 seed Duke 74-65 Monday night on Duke’s home court and advanced to the NCAA tournament Sweet 16, Bruno let his players in on a big secret.

Brittany Hrynko, Jasmine Penny, Chanise Jenkins, Megan Rogowski, Megan Podkowa and all the rest had given their coach his 600th collegiate coaching victory.

“The thing I’m really thrilled about is that we were able to keep it a secret before the game,” Bruno said as his eyes lit up. “I didn’t want it to be a distraction. Our players were able to focus and concentrate on No. 2 seed Duke Monday night at Cameron Indoor Stadium.

“I am so proud of our players putting us in a position to hopefully win No. 601. Now, we’re trying to win one in a row four more times.

“Every one of these milestones is a team success, a victory for the program. What we’ve done is win one game in a row 600 times.”

No. 7 seed DePaul (29-6) takes on No. 3 Texas A&M (26-8) at 6 p.m. Saturday in the regional semifinals that will be televised by ESPN. This is the Blue Demons’ third appearance in the Sweet 16, and they have competed in 12 consecutive NCAA tournaments---19 overall.

“All of this is because of the wonderful support from our administration led by university president Father Dennis H. Holtschneider and athletics director Jean Lenti Ponsetto,” Bruno said. “We have a great coaching staff and great players. I’m grateful for Jeanne as the athletic director who had the trust to hire me and the trust to keep me here.

“Players win games. It was our basketball players who beat Duke. It’s always about the players.”

Every one of those 600 wins is a testament to a local Chicago guy who did his overachieving best playing for Meyer and never forgot what a series of mentors taught him.

“I don’t go a day here without thanking Ray Meyer, Frank McGrath and Gene Sullivan,” Bruno said. “I wouldn’t be here today without Coach Ray putting me on DePaul’s basketball team. It was through Coach Ray that I got to know Frank McGrath. It was Gene Sullivan who got me into coaching.

“I have to thank my Quigley South High School coach Dick Flaiz for providing the motivation to pursue a career in coaching.”

Bruno built a national power in women’s basketball from the ground up.

“In the 1970s, our goal was to earn basketball scholarships,” Bruno said. “In the 80s, it was to get to the NIT---and the program won the NIT.

“In the 90s, it was to get to the NCAA tournament---and we did that seven times. In the 2000s, the goal was to reach the NCAA tournament and expand the program with top academics and community service.

“The goal today is to build a program that perennially fights to win the NCAA championship. That final goal is what drives me forward every day. We are still trying to achieve a greater success.”

In his 28th season heading up the Blue Demons, Bruno hasn’t lost an ounce of the drive that first brought him to Lincoln Park in 1968.

“Once you lose the passion for achieving a greater goal, that’s when you should hang them up,” Bruno said.

What happens after you win a national title?

“Then the goal is to win eight more.”