Wednesday, June 19, 2024

SVP’s One Big Thing: Dan Hurley comes back to UConn


Any college coach knows the rule when it comes to recruiting. If you’ve got that 5-star on campus, you’ve got to get the commit before they leave. It’s the Glengarry Glen Ross rule of “ABC” — Always Be Closing. That’s the rule. You MIGHT get them if they go home to mull it over, but the odds go down massively.

When UConn Huskies coach Dan Hurley left LA without agreeing to be the Los Angeles Lakers’ next head coach, it was telling. Monday, he told the world he was going to run it back in Storrs and try to make it a threepeat.

I mentioned the Billy Donovan parallels on Sunday. He won a couple titles in a row in Gainesville and actually ACCEPTED the Orlando Magic job. Then he thought better of it and went back to Florida. He’d eventually answer the siren song of the NBA, and Hurley probably will someday, too. He’s said as much. But not now.

Whatever happens from here, what Hurley has done in the past two years to forever alter his place in the sport is astounding. This is a man who has spent most of his basketball life in the shadow of his father and brother. Now, he’s all grown up — and they take a back seat to him.

Sound like hyperbole? Tell me something — how many coaches in the same offseason got to tell Kentucky, with the bluest blood in college basketball and the Lakers, NBA royalty, thanks for the interest — sincerely — but I’m all set. Hurley was able to pass on both those gigs in two months. If you told me that would come to pass when he was raging on the sidelines at Rhode Island, I’d have heckled you unmercifully.

Here we are. There he is — in Storrs. Still. Palm trees thin on the ground there, but there are a ton of trophies. All of them earned in the last quarter century and he wants more. There.

I admire high achievers who create comfort in the space they live who aren’t driven to be happier than happy. Only he knows how comfortable … only he knows how difficult it was to say no. It’ll be referenced from this point forward, what Hurley chose not to do. I bet he pours himself into what he decided to keep doing — be the coach at UConn and prepare maniacally to ensure the show goes on.



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