On Thursday, March 22, Dan Hurley was named as UConn’s next men’s basketball coach. The next day, he came to UConn for his first official press conference as head coach.
Prior to coming to UConn, Hurley was the head coach at the University of Rhode Island for six seasons where he took their men’s basketball program from the bottom of the conference to back-to-back Atlantic Ten championships and two NCAA tournament appearances. This year, he led URI to a round of 32 loss to Duke. Additionally, Hurley was twice named the top coach by the United States Basketball Writers Association and was the 2017-2018 A10 coach of the year.
Hurley is not the only one with an award-winning background. Our men’s basketball program is one of the most famous and most successful programs in the country. Grown through the efforts of Jim Calhoun and Kevin Ollie, UConn is the only men’s program to have four national championship victories in the last twenty years. Additionally two of the victories came the same years of a women’s basketball team championship victory. While the program has recently fallen on hard times, Hurley stressed during his first press conference that he believes the UConn brand is still strong.
While UConn is now with a head coach that seems a great fit for the program, it is too early to start celebrating. Change does not happen overnight and the process of becoming major national contender is still in the works. If our football program is any indicator, it is going to be a long uphill battle to make it back up to where we once were. We won our last national championship in 2014, the same year as our second dual national championship. Since then, we have only won one NCAA tournament game and our entry into the tournament was only possible because of a Hail Mary basket from Jalen Adams. In the past four seasons, we have missed the NCAA tournament twice and made one failed run in the National Invitational Tournament in 2015.
Hurley certainly has his work cut out for him and the UConn fan base will have their eyes trained on him. For his part, Hurley seems to think he is up to the task. During the press conference, Hurley was talking about his famous workouts and how he already had plans on how he was going to make this team work and play hard. With that much confidence, the only thing any of us can do is place our faith in Coach Hurley.
UConn Nation welcomes you Coach Hurley. We can’t wait to see what you do.