There have been wide-spread media reports that the University of Connecticut is close to hiring Rhode Island coach Danny Hurley as its next men's basketball coach.
It would be a good move for Hurley and a better move for UConn, which needs a major booster shot for its program after the firing of Kevin Ollie and an increasing lack of interest from a fan base with no taste for life as a second tier team in the American Athletic Conference.
But in the crazy world of college basketball (as well as in most areas in life) timing is crucial. If I were the Huskies, I would try and get the deal done with Hurley ASAP.
Here's why. Let's start by playing a game of connect the dots.
The other Power 5 conference job open is Pittsburgh, which is also interested in Hurley. But Hurley seems focused right now on UConn. Pittsburgh may have a Plan B, which appears to be Seton Hall coach (and Pittsburgh graduate) Kevin Willard, who took the Pirates into the NCAA tournament this season.
Let's say that Pittsburgh moves quickly and does hire Willard. That leaves an opening at Seton Hall, which, if he is available, could do far worse than contact one of its alumni....Danny Hurley. Given time to evaluate the situation, comparing Seton Hall to UConn is a runaway victory for UConn[membership level="0"] The rest of this article is available to subscribers only - to become a subscriber click here.[/membership] [membership]
But UConn is no longer a member of the Big East. It is not the same job that it was five years ago.
Hurley not only is a Seton Hall graduate, but a Jersey guy. It is in his wheel house. He played for his father, legendary high school coach Bob Hurley at St. Anthony's in Jersey City. He coached at St. Benedict's in Newark. A Big East job, like a job in the ACC (where Pitt is a member) is better than a job in the American Athletic Conference and when all things are considered. Although, UConn has a better tradition and much better facilities.
This could all be a moot point if Hurley and UConn finalize a deal. But if there is some hesitation by either party and Seton Hall does open, UConn could once again be outside the main ball room.
UConn is facing money problems and with a buyout of Hurley's Rhode Island contract to consider and a considerable reduction in its media contract rights, the Huskies, as a state school, must be frugal.
They still can get the job done and the hiring of Hurley would be greeted with enthusiastic endorsement in many areas, including that occupied by Hall of Fame former UConn coach Jim Calhoun.
In this instance silence from UConn and Hurley is not good news. The only certainty seems to be that URI will have a new coach next season and all indications are pointing in the direction of URI assistant David Cox.
There is also another red flag which could be posted. If Louisville makes a move to not retain interim coach David Padgett, the Cardinals could focus on Xavier coach Chris Mack, which might turn to Hurley. But that is a future problem.
What also seems clear is that if UConn wants to avoid another disappointment, it would be wise to get the deal with Hurley done and announced as quickly as possible.[/membership]