Red Claws hire Dave Leitao as head coach

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Red Claws hire Dave Leitao as head coach

By A. Sherrod Blakely
CSNNE.com Celtics Insider
Follow @sherrodbcsn
A familiar face will be at the helm of the Maine Red Claws next season as the team announced Dave Leitao as its new head coach on Thursday.

Leitao replaces Austin Ainge who was named the Director of Player Personnel for the Boston Celtics.

Despite the labor battle between NBA owners and the player's union, the Development League is expected to have a full 2011-2012 season.

"We are very, very fortunate to have a coach of the caliber, the record and the proven ability to develop players as coach Dave Leitao," Red Claws President and General Manager, Jon Jennings, told the media Thursday afternoon.

"I could not be more excited about being here," Leitao said.

Born in New Bedford, the 51-year-old Leitao played collegiately at Northeastern for then-head coach Jim Calhoun.

After a not-so-distinguished playing career -- he had career averages of six points and 5.4 rebounds per game -- Leitao later served as an assistant coach on Calhoun's staff at Northeastern and later, the University of Connecticut where Leitao was instrumental in recruiting players such as Richard Hamilton in helping the Huskies win the first of their three national championships in 1999.

In addition to spending two seasons as the head coach at his alma mater, Leitao was also the head coach at DePaul University (2002-2005) and most recently, the University of Virginia (2005-2009).

While he was named ACC coach of the Year in 2007, Leitao's last team finished with a 10-18 record which led to his resignation.

A. Sherrod Blakely can be reached at sblakely@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Sherrod on Twitter at http:twitter.comsherrodbcsn