I do know Dan Hurley.
He is a man who loves his family and the young men he coaches, his second family.
As a biracial woman of African American descent, my sadness has been relentless over these past several days. After reading the emotional statement Coach Hurley wrote in response to the horrendous death of George Floyd, my heart received a palpable jolt of hope. Hurley shared a message we all need to hear. He passionately acknowledged that the burden to make a difference is on him. In the face of social injustice, silence is complicity and Dan Hurley used his platform to articulate this critical truth.
Many of us have not only witnessed the talent of Coach Hurley and his team of diverse coaches, Kenya Hunter, Tom Moore and Kimani Young, but we have seen them all nurture, mentor and drive the student-athletes on the men’s basketball team to be their best in the classroom, on the court and in the community. In his relatively short coaching career, Coach Hurley has already helped elevate three of his former assistant coaches, two of them African American, into Division I head coaching positions and he has publicly stated the readiness of those on his current staff to do the same.
Dan Hurley has shown us he is a man who can inspire change. He has transformed the culture and attitude surrounding UConn men’s basketball, both internally and externally. We all remember former player Christian Vital’s words about Coach and his ear-to-ear smile following a victory over Houston on Senior Night. But Dan Hurley does not measure success by wins and losses exclusively. In his two years at UConn, he has made a profound impact on the lives of so many young men, most of whom are of African descent. Dan Hurley prioritizes the importance of life after basketball and has created a culture that values success on and off the court. There is little doubt that moving forward, these young men will have a profoundly positive effect on their respective communities.
I know Dan Hurley and he is a man of action. The effort and performance of his team, both on and off the court, speak to the effectiveness of his vision. He is also a man of high integrity and is committed to following through on his call to action to raise awareness for social injustice and racial inequality.
I am fortunate to know Dan Hurley and we are fortunate that he is our head men’s basketball coach.
Andrea Dennis-LaVigne DVM
Vice Chair UCONN Board of Trustees
Chair, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Board of Trustees