After days of reports, rumors and rampant speculation, #HurleyWatch is finally over: Dan Hurley is officially the new head coach of UConn men’s basketball, as first reported by A Dime Back last night.
“I am honored and excited to become the head coach of the UConn men’s basketball program,” Hurley said in a press release. “This program, which is part of one of the top public universities in the country, has a championship history and wonderful support from a passionate fan base. I look forward to continuing this proud tradition.”
ESPN’s Jeff Goodman confirmed the reports this morning, saying that Hurley passed up a more lucrative offer from Pittsburgh and a long-term deal from Rhode Island to sign a six-year contract with UConn, worth $2.75 million in the first year.
Goodman also reports that former UConn assistant Tom Moore, who has coached on Hurley’s staff the past few season, will be joining Hurley in Storrs.
Hurley was the school’s top target but was also hotly pursued by Pittsburgh while Rhode Island made a strong effort to keep him. Pitt reportedly had the highest offer but UConn simply needed to get “close” and in the end, they did so.
“We are thrilled to name Dan Hurley as our next coach,” UConn President Susan Herbst said in the release. “I never doubted for a moment that UConn would be able to attract a coach of Dan’s talent.”
Goodman reported that Rhode Island’s offer was for seven years at $2 million annually with staff salary increases, chartered flights to all away games and a promise of a basketball-only practice facility in the next two years.
While no players have left the program at the moment outside of 2018 commit James Akinjo, bringing in Hurley should help retain the roster, according to Hearst CT Media’s Dave Borges.
Can also say there's definitely hope it's Hurley, at least from some parts of current roster.— David Borges (@DaveBorges) March 21, 2018
Ultimately, the entire saga lasted less than three days, although it felt much, much longer.
On Monday, the first reports of Hurley coming to UConn came from Hearst CT Media’s Jeff Jacobs, who initially reported the Huskies were “close” to signing the coach but later tweeted that a different source said Hurley had not made a decision — the latter of which was also reported by ESPN’s Jeff Goodman and ZAGSBLOGS’ Adam Zagoria.
The next day, CBS Sports’ Jon Rothstein reported that Pitt offered Hurley over $3 million per year but that UConn and URI remained “in play,” and that a decision was expected to come by Wednesday night. Goodman reported that he had yet to meet with URI’s athletic director and was still “getting all the info” before he made his decision.
Before the news initially broke late Wednesday, all was quiet on the Hurley front as multiple outlets reported that he was working through his decision with his family and few people had even been in contact with him.
UConn ultimately made the most sense for Hurley after they were able to get the money close. Pitt will be a huge rebuild as nine players have received their release from the program and Hurley’s replacement will have very little to work with. URI, meanwhile, simply does not have the same resources, history or ceiling that UConn does for its basketball program.
If Hurley is able to retain most if not all of the currently roster, the Huskies should be in a position to turnaround quickly and compete for NCAA Tournament appearances once again. This a huge hire for UConn and the fact that they were able to get their top target over an ACC school shows the power of the brand remains strong despite the conference affiliation.
An introductory press conference will be held tomorrow at 1 p.m. in the Werth Family Champions Center. There, the full details of the contract will be released.