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Diversity, equity official to leave GW in July
By Jenna Lee, Assistant News Editor • June 8, 2024

Men’s basketball coach departs for DePaul

Brian Ellerbe, who has been an assistant coach for the GW men’s basketball team since last July, will leave to take the same position at DePaul University in Chicago, the coach announced last Thursday.

Ellerbe, who has previously been a head coach at Michigan and at Loyola -Maryland., will join the staff of new Blue Demons’ coach Oliver Purnell. Purnell took the top job at DePaul in April after leading Clemson to three-straight NCAA Tournament appearances. Ellerbe replaces Kevin Nickelberry, who left DePaul last month to fill the head coaching vacancy at Howard.

In explaining his decision to leave, Ellerbe pointed to the financial and career opportunities that come with coaching in the Big East Conference, as well as the opportunity to work with Purnell again. Purnell recruited Ellerbe out of high school.

“There was a host of factors, and when I weighed them all out it was a tough call,” Ellerbe said. “I ended up thinking it was best for me, my family and for my career to look into the situation.”

Ellerbe, a strong recruiter, said his departure likely won’t have any immediate effect on recruiting.

“There are two incoming freshmen already committed, signed, and I expect there’ll be a third one here in the next couple weeks which will round out recruiting for the year,” Ellerbe said. “Recruiting’s pretty much done. That’s a great thing because now you can really just concentrate on creating the continuity and concentrate on the growth of the team.”

In terms of replacing Ellerbe, GW men’s basketball head coach Karl Hobbs said Friday he hadn’t begun the search for a replacement, and there was no timeline in place for bringing in a new member of the coaching staff. Hobbs did say that while bringing in candidates with a strong recruiting base remains crucial, his focus on the hiring process will be somewhat different than it was last year.

“You gotta look at the state of where we are. The program, I feel, is in a little bit of a different situation than it was last year, just in terms of the outlook,” Hobbs said.”Now it’s just a question of, do we need, for this particular time, a guy that’s very good at developing talent because we’re very, very young, and so how well these guys develop over this next year or two will determine how good we can possibly be.”

GW Athletic Director Jack Kvancz said Friday he had not yet met with Hobbs to discuss filling the position, but he agreed that nothing needed to be done immediately. Ideally, Kvancz said, the vacancy would be filled in time for Ellerbe’s replacement to hit the recruiting trail in July.

“I don’t know what the hurry is at this time,” he said. “But that’s just me.”

Kvancz spoke highly of Ellerbe, calling him “a good guy,” and saying he hopes to replace the former Colonial assistant with a similar individual.

“I just want another Brian Ellerbe,” Kvancz said. “Just clone him and get him in there.”

Before leaving, Ellerbe was quick to sing the praises of GW, calling it a “hidden gem” and expressing disappointment at leaving such a promising group behind in Foggy Bottom.

“GW really helped me to rekindle my old enthusiasm and excitement for college basketball,” Ellerbe said. “I’ll always hold a special place for that experience here at GW.”

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