Now that he’s available, UConn is reportedly moving quickly to try to hire Dan Hurley.
After letting Kevin Ollie go as men’s basketball coach nine days ago, and an attempt to do so with cause, UConn has settled on who they want to hire. According to Jeff Jacobs of Hearst Connecticut Media, the school is close to hiring Rhode Island’s Dan Hurley.
Hurley has a 113-82 record over six seasons at Rhode Island, with a 51-18 mark over the last two seasons that included back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances. The Rams won the Atlantic-10 tournament title in 2016-17, and the regular season conference title this year before falling just short of another conference tournament title in a loss to Davidson.
The Rams beat Oklahoma 83-78 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, then lost 87-62 to Duke in the second round on Saturday. Hurley is also a rumored top target to replace Kevin Stallings at Pitt, so UConn needs to move quickly if they want him.
According to Jeff Goodman of ESPN, Hurley talked to both Pitt and UConn on Monday but will sit with Rhode Island athletic director Thorr Bjorn on Tuesday before making any decision.
“He’s not close to a decision yet,” one source close to Hurley told ESPN. “He’s still researching it all.”
Hurley has deep roots in East Coast basketball, as a player at Seton Hall, an assistant at Rutgers and as head coach at St. Benedict’s Prep in New Jersey, Wagner, and now Rhode Island. He also has a last name basketball fans know, as the son of Hall of Fame high school coach Bob Hurley and brother of former Duke player and current Arizona State head coach Bobby Hurley.
Hurley went with the expected line about his future after Saturday’s loss to Duke, saying he “could give a crap about who’s got an opening anywhere.” But Monday’s news shows he’s looking at his options, and through his agent probably has been doing so.
UConn has fallen quickly since a surprising run to a national title in 2014, and Ollie ultimately paid the price. Hurley is in demand, and the looming transfer exodus at Pitt could be considered a clean slate or purely starting over in a tough conference. UConn needs to sell the appeal of their situation and get Hurley to sign on the dotted line. Otherwise, they may have to move way down their list of viable candidates to replace Ollie.