Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
Hurley Returning to St. Benedict’s; Providence Consdiers Willard
Dan Hurley will return to coach St. Benedict’s Prep in Newark next year instead of taking the head coaching job at Marist College.
This marks the second time in a year that Hurley has turned down a D-1 offer to stay at the prep level. Last summer he spurned a chance to be Jamie Dixon’s associate head coach at Pitt because he wanted to remain with his family in Freehold, N.J. Similar concerns entered into his decision this time around. Hurley, a former assistant under Kevin Bannon at Rutgers, has a record of 179-17 in seven years at the Newark school.
“I was flattered to be considered for the position at Marist College,” Hurley said.
“What was attractive about Marist was the quality of the college, the beautiful campus and location right on the Hudson River and the opportunity to run my own program in a great conference. But at the end of the day I couldn’t leave St. Benedict’s, the school community, my players and uproot my family.
“We all have dreams and goals and aspirations. I’m very fortunate at St. Benedict’s to coach kids that are very talented Division I prospects. Although I don’t work at a university, I feel like I get to coach and train college level kids.”
With Hurley out of the mix, the top two candidates appear to be Memphis assistant Chucky Martin and Pitt assistant Tom Herrion.
Hurley led St. Benedict’s to a 24-1 mark and the No. 2 ranking nationally this past year. Five of his players from that team have committed to D-1 schools: seniors Samardo Samuels (Louisville) and Scott Machado (Iona); juniors Greg Echenique (Rutgers) and Tamir Jackson (UA; and sophomore Tristan Thompson (Texas).
As far as the ongoing coaching search at Providence…
The Providence Journal reports that Providence AD Bob Driscoll is being urged by Louisville (and former Friars) coach Rick Pitino to consider Iona head man Kevin Willard for the job formerly held by Tim Welsh. Willard, a former Pitino assistant at Louisville, could bring along his father, Ralph, the current Holy Cross head coach, and use him in an associate head coaching role.
Willard finished 12-20 in his first season at Iona, 8-10 in the MAAC. He has a recruiting class coming in that features numerous local players, including Scott Machado of St. Benedict’s; Keon Williams of Hackensack; and Kyle Smyth of Don Bosco.
According to the Journal, Pitino was offered the job himself, but then urged Driscoll to consider UMass coach Travis Ford, who ultimately turned Driscoll down. George Mason coach Jim Larranaga previously said no.
George Washington coach Karl Hobbs, Florida associate coach Larry Shyatt and Hofstra’s Tom Pecora are also reportedly in the mix.
Jack Kvancz, GW’s director of athletics, told the GW Hatchet that Providence athletic officials have not called to inform him of any discussions between Providence and Hobbs.
“Do I think he’s on a list? He could be,” Kvancz told the GW student newspaper. “They haven’t called me yet and they would call me. I know (administrators at Providence).”
Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.