Dan Hurley Stays at UConn: Three Key Reasons

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Coach Hurley Turns Down Lakers’ Offer

Dan Hurley Stays at UConn Three Key Reasons
Dan Hurley Stays at UConn Three Key Reasons

Dan Hurley is staying at UConn. Coming off back-to-back national championships, the celebrated Husky men’s basketball coach spurned an offer from the Los Angeles Lakers on Monday, opting to remain with the team he has brought to unprecedented success. The Lakers’ offer would have more than doubled his salary, reportedly a six-year, $70-million deal, but Hurley chose loyalty over lucrative temptation.

Aman Kidwai, longtime writer for The UConn Blog, has identified three primary reasons why the Lakers’ enticing offer wasn’t enough to lure Coach Hurley to the NBA.

1. The Lakers Are the Wrong Team for Hurley

The Los Angeles Lakers, despite their storied history and 17 championships, have struggled over the past three seasons. Even with superstar LeBron James in the lineup, they’ve finished no better than 7th in the NBA’s Western Conference during that span. With James at 39 years old and potentially becoming a free agent, Hurley would face a challenging situation.

“You’ve got executives that meddle, you’ve got an ownership that meddles,” Kidwai explained. “And then also a star player [LeBron James] that you have to deal with who might make you draft his son [USC Trojan guard Bronny James] with your first-round pick.”

Kidwai believes Hurley would prefer a team composed of younger players, allowing him to build something from the ground up.

2. Complete Control at UConn

At UConn, Dan Hurley enjoys complete control over the basketball program, a level of autonomy Kidwai thinks he could never achieve with any NBA team.

“Dan Hurley has complete control of the situation top to bottom and runs the program in his vision,” Kidwai said.

3. Family and Regional Ties

Dan Hurley’s roots are firmly planted in the northeastern United States. He grew up in New Jersey, where his father, Bob Sr., was a legendary high school basketball coach. Hurley became a basketball star and a first-time head coach in New Jersey, and much of his and his wife Andrea’s friends and family network remains in the northeast.

“We know that he had to plead with his wife to move to Rhode Island for the URI [University of Rhode Island] job,” Kidwai noted. “The idea of them moving across the country? It seemed like something they didn’t want to do, something that came up when Hurley had the interest from Kentucky earlier this offseason.”

A Win for UConn…For Now

Hurley’s decision to stay is a significant win for UConn.

“They have a coach who could be coaching anywhere but chooses to be right there in Storrs,” Kidwai said. “All of the happy feelings and momentum that UConn fans had one week ago, before they ever knew about any of this, it’s all back there and just a little bit stronger because now fans have kind of reckoned with the possibility of things getting shaken up.”

Kidwai cautioned that UConn and Husky fans should prepare for NBA interest in Hurley every offseason. For now, Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont assured that the state would ensure Hurley remains the top-paid college coach if he stays with the Huskies.

“I think he will be an attractive option for the NBA, but I don’t think it’s going to be just any NBA team or any NBA job,” Kidwai said. “And I don’t think it’s that top of mind for him to go to the NBA, you know, like as soon as possible. But, absolutely, it’ll be an ongoing concern.”

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