Missouri lost one of its best assistant coaches when Ernie Nestor decided to take a similar position on the Navy coaching staff earlier this month.
The process of looking for Nestor's successor ended Friday when the athletic department announced the hiring of 52-year old Dave Leitao. The former head coach of Northeastern, DePaul and Virginia will join an assistant staff that includes Associate Head Coach Tim Fuller and new assistant Ryan Miller.
After spending one year as a head coach in the NBA's Developmental League, Leitao returns to the college ranks where he had moderate success as a head coach, but won a national championship as a member of the 1998-1999 University of Connecticut coaching staff.
Leitao is said to be an excellent recruiter, especially in his time as an assistant at Connecticut. After a year away from the college game, Leitao will try to help replace former assistant Issac Chew's recruiting expertise.
Coach Frank Haith was said to be looking for an expert recruiter like Leitao to replace Nestor and Chew, and expanded on that thought in a statement released by the University on Friday morning.
"Dave brings a wealth of knowledge to our program," Haith said. "He was mentored by one of college basketball’s all-time greats in Coach Calhoun and he helped recruit key pieces for their NCAA Championship team in 1998-99. We are excited to have Dave join our family here at Mizzou."
Leitao is excited to get back into the college game, especially with a program that has had a lot of recent success like Mizzou has.
"I really appreciate this opportunity to join Coach Haith's staff here at Missouri and can't imagine a better place to continue my coaching career than here at Mizzou," Leitao said in a statement Friday morning.
Missouri may find it tough to adjust to two new assistants a year after getting a new head coach, but it seems as if Frank Haith has found more than adequate replacements. And with a wealth of new bodies on the roster, Missouri could have a surprisingly successful season like the one they had last year.