Bruno Adds Unique Honor to his Illustrious Career
Aug. 23, 2017
CHICAGO – Doug Bruno’s illustrious career has just been enhanced by the announcement that the DePaul women’s basketball coach will be inducted into the prestigious National Italian-American Sports Hall of Fame.
The 40th annual Induction & Awards Gala is set for Nov. 18 at the Westin Chicago River North. The program will be emceed by 2016 Baseball Hall of Famer Mike Piazza and New York Mets radio announcer Wayne Randazzo. Among the previous inductees expected to attend are Tommy LaSorda, Franco Harris, Jerry Colangelo, Ray “Boom” Mancini and Vince Ferragamo. DePaul Athletics Director Jean Lenti Ponsetto is a National Italian-American Sports Hall of Fame (NIASHF) inductee.
Along with Bruno, the Hall of Fame class of 2017 includes former NFL running back and Chicago sports broadcaster Mike Adamle, former Cy Young winner Barry Zito, Los Angeles Angels president John Carpino, Kentucky Derby-winning jockey Mike Manganello and the Arcerra brothers. The nine oldest of the 12 Arcerra brothers formed the longest-playing, all-brother team in baseball history back in the late 1930s. All 12 brothers will be inducted posthumously.
Their semi-pro team disbanded in the 1940s when six of the brothers left to serve their country in World War II. After the war, the six brothers returned and the team played for another six years. The National Baseball Hall of Fame honored them with a special ceremony in 1997.
“This is a fabulous honor,” Bruno said. “What Hall of Fame founder George Randazzo has done to create this recognition of all the positive accomplishments by Italian-Americans is something to be cherished. It makes this Hall of Fame induction something very unique and special.
“I want to thank George for all he has done to make this Hall of Fame come to life back in the 1970s and to sustain it for five decades. This is so much more than a sports Hall of Fame.”
Bruno’s passion for the game he loves resonates across the country and all over the world as the ultimate pioneer, ambassador and unabashed promoter of women’s basketball who never misses an opportunity to grow the game. This tireless crusader finishes up every postgame press conference with: “Thank you for supporting women’s basketball.”
Those qualities are imbedded in the very fabric of the DePaul Blue Demons program, and it’s no wonder Bruno has amassed an astonishing record of 641-326 in his 31 years at the helm. That’s a winning percentage of .664, and including his two years coaching the women’s pro basketball team the Chicago Hustle, Bruno has 681 career wins.
This past president of the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) has led his program to the NCAA Sweet 16 four times, most recently in 2016. He has a relentless drive to succeed that is second to none as evidenced by his Blue Demons’ 15 consecutive NCAA tournament appearances---matched only by the college game’s elite of Connecticut, Notre Dame, Stanford, Tennessee and Oklahoma.
Bruno has led the Blue Demons to 22 postseason appearances in 31 years, coached USA national teams to FIBA World Championship gold medals in 2006 and 2007 and was selected to the coaching staff of the U.S. Women’s National Team that brought home gold medals from the 2012 Summer Olympics in London and the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
He was honored as a conference coach of the year six times including BIG EAST Coach of the Year in 2014, 2016 and 2017. He was a WBCA Coach of the Year finalist three times and honored as the Conference USA Coach of the Decade.
Beyond the glowing numbers and accolades, Bruno’s fierce competitiveness extends away from the court and into the class room where he religiously tracks on the academic progress of his student-athletes.
Bruno is in on a mission to make certain his players maximize their opportunity for a college education. As a result, his program has been recognized in the WBCA Academic Top 25 rankings a remarkable 13 times since its inception in 1998. Rankings are based on team GPA. Six times since 2006, the Blue Demons have finished in the top 10 including No. 2 in 2011 and 2012.
“No achievement could ever happen without DePaul---without Ray Meyer, Frank McGrath, Gene Sullivan and Jean Lenti Ponsetto," Bruno said. "It couldn’t happen without the great assistant coaches we’ve had through the years. It couldn’t happen without being blessed with some very special student-athletes.
“You don’t get to be born Italian, so I have to thank my father Richard Bruno and my grandfather Leonard Bruno.”
Randazzo created the Italian-American Boxing Hall of Fame in 1977 to help raise funds for local Catholic youth programs. The inaugural Boxing Hall of Fame induction event was so successful after honoring 22 boxers including Rocky Marciano, Jake LaMotta and Rocky Graziano that Randazzo founded the National Italian-American Sports Hall of Fame in 1978.
The first class of inductees featured Vince Lombardi and Joe DiMaggio. President Jimmy Carter spoke at the 1988 induction ceremony.
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