Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Dan Hurley rejects Los Angeles Lakers offer and will stay at UConn, per reports

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University of Connecticut men’s basketball coach Dan Hurley, who guided the Huskies to back-to-back national titles, rejected an offer to join the Los Angeles Lakers, according to ESPN and other reports.

He confirmed he was remaining at the program in a statement.

“I am humbled by this entire experience,” Hurley said. “At the end of the day, I am extremely proud of the championship culture we have built at Connecticut. We met as a team before today’s workout and our focus right now is on getting better this summer and connecting as a team as we continue to pursue championships.”

UConn athletic director David Benedict said he is “thrilled” Hurley has decided to continue leading the Huskies.

“He has helped return our men’s basketball program back to the pinnacle of the sport, including back-to-back NCAA Championships, and we’re grateful for his loyalty to UConn,” he said in a statement. “We look forward to Dan’s continued leadership on and off the court at UConn. He will continue to bring great pride to Husky fans everywhere as we work toward a three-peat.” 

The Lakers’ heading coaching position, one of the most glamorous and high-profile jobs in North American sports, came open in May when the franchise fired Darvin Ham after two seasons in charge.

Despite having superstars LeBron James and Anthony Davis, Los Angeles was eliminated in the first round of the playoffs this season. The Lakers reached the Western Conference finals the previous year.

While it’s rare for college coaches to find success in the NBA, had Hurley taken the job, the Lakers would have secured one of the biggest names in the history of amateur basketball.

Hurley is the brother of Arizona State coach Bobby Hurley, who as a player led Duke to three Final Four appearances and two national championships. Their father is legendary prep coach Bob Hurley Sr., who guided St. Anthony High School of Jersey City to 28 New Jersey state titles.

While Dan Hurley was a solid player at Seton Hall and has been a successful Division I coach, he was arguably the least known Hurley until his remarkable run of recent championships.

He has won 292 games as a coach at Wagner, Rhode Island and UConn. He has gone 68-11 over the past two seasons, which have ended in net-cutting glory.

Much of the basketball world was stunned by Hurley’s apparently declining the Lakers’ offer, reportedly of $70 million, according to ESPN.

Lakers fans were already bracing themselves for dark days ahead with their bitter rivals, the Boston Celtics, just two wins away from capturing the Larry O’Brien Trophy.

If Boston can beat the Dallas Mavericks two more times this series, the Celtics will have 18 NBA titles. They’re now tied with the Lakers for the most.

With Hurley no longer on the table, the club could now be focused on hiring a former NBA player. The Athletic reported last week that former Duke star and ESPN broadcaster J.J. Redick was a front-runner.

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