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UConn Men’s Basketball: Dan Hurley Spending Time Learning from Geno Auriemma, Boston Celtics

The Huskies’ new men’s basketball coach is constantly searching for new ideas.

New UConn men’s basketball coach Danny Hurley greets the raucous crowd at First Night.
Ian Bethune/The UConn Blog

Dan Hurley has been around some great coaches in his time. His father, Bob Hurley, was the long-time coach at high school powerhouse St. Anthony’s in New Jersey. When Dan went to Seton Hall, he played under P.J. Carlesimo and George Blaney. Now, the new UConn men’s basketball coach shares a facility with Geno Auriemma, and Hurley is making sure to take full advantage of it.

“We had a day off one day this week so we got a chance to go over there and watch them work for a little,” he said. “I’ve seen Geno in clinics but that’s the first chance I had to watch his team. But (it’s good) to see the professionalism, understanding of how they want to play, maturity.”

“Championship culture just oozes out as you’re watching.”

However, Hurley isn’t limiting his exposure to just Auriemma’s squad. He took a trip to see one of the NBA’s best teams — the Boston Celtics — led by Brad Stevens. Nearly all of Hurley’s coaching experience comes in the college ranks, so getting the chance to watch a professional team up close was a new experience to glean from.

“They don’t turn the ball over. They always get a good shot. The closer they get to the basket, the more they slow down to read the defense. They talk on defense, like professionals.” Hurley said. “It’s a well structured practice in terms of the evolution of what you’re trying to build up to. It’s also a bit of a kick in the stomach to go see that then you come back and we can’t do the three-man weave drill.”

Hurley also said he tries to visit the Nets and Knicks every offseason. Auriemma isn’t surprised his counterpart is always looking for a new idea. It’s simply what good coaches do.

“Coaches love to go watch other coaches practice. It doesn’t matter if it’s high school, college, pros,” Auriemma said. “When coaches have any free time when they’re not coaching, they like to watch other coaches go practice. As soon as somebody’s out of a job in the basketball world, they get on a plane and go everywhere to watch practice. There’s a feeling of ‘I want to know more than I know’, at least by the good coaches. I’m not surprised that he’s going around. That’s what good coaches do.”