Former CU Buffs assistant Rodney Billups done as head man with DU Pioneers

Billups spent five seasons as head coach at alma mater

Former CU Buffs assistant Rodney Billups no longer is the head coach at the University of Denver.
Jeremy Papasso / Staff Photographer
Former CU Buffs assistant Rodney Billups no longer is the head coach at the University of Denver.

After posting just two wins in college basketball’s pandemic-shortened 2020-21 season, former Colorado assistant Rodney Billups is out as the head coach at the University of Denver.

DU announced the move on Monday, just two days after completing a 2-19 campaign that capped the end of a difficult five-year run for Billups at his alma mater.

Billups, a former standout point guard for the Pioneers in the mid-2000s, took the job at DU following the Buffs’ NCAA Tournament season of 2015-16. The younger brother of former CU star Chauncey Billups, Rodney Billups spent six seasons on CU coach Tad Boyle’s staff, spending the first two as the director of basketball operations and the next four as an assistant coach.

Billups was introduced as the 32nd head coach in DU men’s basketball history on March 14, 2016 to much fanfare, returning to a program where he remains one of the all-time leaders in assists and steals. Billups even facilitated the Colorado return of former Buffs coach Ricardo Patton — also his older brother’s college mentor. Patton spent three seasons on Billups’ staff.

Billups’ tenure began encouragingly enough, as the Pioneers went 16-14 in 2016-17 and 15-15 in 2017-18. However, DU dipped to 8-22 in 2018-19 and 7-24 in 2019-20 last year before bottoming out this year. By the end, Billups was relying heavily on transfers to fill his roster. This season, that list included former Fairview star and CU walk-on Frank Ryder, who averaged 5.1 points in 17 games for the Pioneers.

Overall, Billups finished 48-94 at DU, with a 23-53 record in the Summit League.