Photo Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports
Former University of Rhode Island men’s basketball coach, Dan Hurley is no stranger to turning around and rebuilding basketball programs. When Hurley signed a contract to become the Rhode Island basketball coach prior to the start of the 2012 - 2013 season, Hurley was faced with the task of turning around the URI program. When Hurley took over, the Rams were coming off of a season where the team finished in 13th place of the Atlantic 10 Conference with a disappointing record of just 4 wins and 12 losses. However, after Hurley took over the head coaching job, the Rams basketball program was rebuilt almost immediately as the team won 8 games in Hurley’s first season, and then won double digit games each of the next five seasons. In the six-years of being the head coach for the Rams, Hurley led URI to two different March Madness appearances in which he led the Rams to the round of 32 both times (first in the 2016-2017 season, and then again in the 2017-2018 season).
After turning around the Rhode Island basketball program, Hurley decided to part ways with the school and went on to become the men’s basketball coach at the University of Connecticut where he was faced with another rebuilding project. After replacing UCONN coach Kevin Ollie, Hurley was immediately thrown into the fire as he was faced with the task of putting UCONN back on the map after the Huskies failed to make the March Madness tournament since the 2015 season. Yet despite facing adversity, Hurley quickly overcame the odds and has rebuilt the men’s program at UCONN by positioning the team to make a run in this years March Madness tournament.
After wrapping up their regular season this past weekend with a dominating win over Georgetown with a final score of 98 to 82, the Huskies are in third place of the Big East Conference. The Huskies, who finished the regular season with an overall record of 14-6, are riding a four-game win streak including two wins against Georgetown, and wins against Marquette, and Hurley's alma mater, Seton Hall. If the Huskies did not lose their star player, guard James Bouknight due to an elbow injury, then the Huskies very well could have found themselves in first place of the Big East. Prior to Bouknight injuring his elbow, Hurley had the team ranked number 23 in the nation, but the team took a step back with Bouknight being out of the lineup.
Since taking over the UCONN program prior to the 2018 season, Hurley has an overall record of 49 wins and 35 losses. With the teams latest win this past weekend over Georgetown, Hurley has now won 200 games in his coaching career, and has lit the fire again for Huskie Nation. In fact, so much so that UCONN reached a contract extension with Hurley this past week that will keep the coach in Storrs through 2027.
As the Big East Tournament is set to tip-off later on this week, Hurley will have a chance to add to his already impressive resume at UCONN if the team can continue to play lights out like they have been as of late. However, regardless if the Huskies come away as the Big East Champions this year, Hurley has already made a strong case as to why he should be named the Big East Conference Coach of the Year, and why he is one of the premiere college basketball coaches.