UConn head coach Dan Hurley will be adding Kimani Young to his staff as an assistant coach, as first reported by Evan Daniels of 247Sports and confirmed by many others. Young has been on Richard Pitino’s staff for five seasons at the University of Minnesota, and for one season with him before that at Florida International.
The Forest Hills High (Queens, NY) graduate played Division I basketball at UTEP, where he was a 1000-point scorer for the Miners. He later started a career in community recreation in his native New York City, eventually making his way to the AAU/grassroots world, serving primarily in administration. He worked for local Police Athletic Leagues from 2001-06.
Young spent one year at St. John’s as a Head Manager/Video Coordinator under head coach Norman Roberts before returning to New Heights Youth, where he “managed all aspects of the basketball program, including the athletic budget,” according to his Minnesota bio.
Young returned to college coaching when he joined Pitino’s staff at FIU in 2012 before following him to Minnesota in 2013. At that time, UConn athletic director David Benedict was Deputy AD at UM and UConn COO Beth Goetz was in the administration as well.
Given his vast NYC ties, Young will certainly help UConn recruit in a talent-rich area that has been kind to the program in the past. The Minnesota roster currently has two players from NYC and one from New Jersey.
Hiring of Kimani Young now out, should parlay UConn into a great spot within the New York metro area. Really good hire by Dan Hurley which leads to one available assistant position in Storrs— Corey Evans (@coreyevans_10) April 3, 2018
Kimani Young landed a lot of northeastern recruits at MN. Isaiah Washington, Kevin Dorsey, Dupree McBrayer https://t.co/J5A2TZ4wpA— Andrew Doughty (@Adoughty88) April 3, 2018
Young does have a drug possession arrest on his record, which occurred about a year after he graduated college and led to one year in prison. He was fully vetted, however, by the Minnesota athletic administration, which—it bears repeating—included the top two members of UConn’s current athletic leadership.
The Gophers’ athletic director at the time, Norwood Teague, released a statement near the time of Young’s hire addressing the transgression, per the Star Tribune:
“President Eric Kaler and I each spoke at length with College Presidents and Athletic Directors at schools employing Coach Young and received assurances that Kimani was a positive influence and leader for their programs and student-athletes.”
By all accounts, Young is a well-respected coach who has made a positive impact in the communities he's lived in and the development of their youth. He’s a great hire for UConn, joining Tom Moore on Hurley’s staff.
UPDATE (4/4, 9:55 a.m.) UConn has made the news official, a few excerpts from the press release below.
“I’ve known Kimani for years,” Hurley said. “We both spent a good part of our careers in the New York-New Jersey metropolitan area in the grassroots of high school and AAU basketball. We developed a friendship that continued to build when we both in a similar timeline moved into the college game. I’ve admired the work he’s been able to do at St. John’s, Florida International, and Minnesota.” ...
“My relationship with Danny started back when he was a high school coach and I was an AAU coach in New York,” Young said. “We just bounced around the same circles .. kids that I coached in my AAU program played for his dad (Bob Sr.) at St. Anthony’s. The New York-New Jersey basketball community is very small and tight-knit and we just developed a mutual respect and admiration for each other.” ...
“I just think it was the total package of being close to home, being in a region where I can really bring value in terms of my relationships, and my connections in that area,” Young said. “I believe in the brand of UConn basketball -- it’s a national brand, it’s a championship brand, and I just thought the opportunity to get in on the ground level with Danny, to help the rebirth of UConn basketball, is just something I couldn’t turn down.”