DePaul athletic director Jean Lenti Ponsetto announces her retirement

DePaul athletic director Jean Lenti Ponsetto announces her retirement

DePaul athletic director Jean Lenti Ponsetto has spent 40 years as an administrator in the school’s athletic department. | Paul Beaty/AP

Ponsetto’s 18th year as athletic director at DePaul will be her last.

Jean Lenti Ponsetto’s 18th year as athletic director at DePaul will be her last, the school announced Friday. Ponsetto will remain in the role until a successor is hired, DePaul said in a statement posted on its website.

“Today is a bittersweet day for me and my husband, Joe,” Ponsetto said in a statement. “DePaul has been a part of our lives for the past 46 years. Our dearest and closest friends were teammates we began our student-athlete journeys with in 1974. It truly has been our privilege and the honor of a lifetime to serve DePaul as athletic director.”

She said her health played a role in her decision to step away.

“The changing times over these past few months has led me to this decision” Ponsetto said. “Having successfully battled two breast cancer diagnoses and currently in treatment for a third, I thought it was time to step away from the long days, working every weekend and the 24/7 demands that being an athletic director requires.”

Ponsetto, once a star athlete at DePaul, has spent 40 years as an administrator in the school’s athletic department, most notably leading a transition to the Big East conference in 2005. She also rehired men’s basketball coach Dave Leitao and has overseen one of the worst periods in the history of that program.

DePaul is accused in a lawsuit of ignoring allegations that its former softball coach — Ponsetto’s brother, Eugene Lenti — punched an assistant in the face and verbally abused his players and retaliated against the whisteblower by terminating her contract with the school.

The school also is accused of violating Title IX rules for failing to report complaints made against Lenti, who is now an assistant at Auburn.

The suit was filed in Cook County Circuit court by sports psychologist Jenny Conviser, who said her contract to counsel DePaul athletes was terminated two years ago after she raised concerns to athletic department officials regarding Lenti’s behavior.

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