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.
In Pittsburgh, Rhody’s Dan Hurley says he’s not thinking about other jobs
BY ADAM ZAGORIAPITTSBURGH — It was only a matter of time before Rhode Island coach Dan Hurley was asked about coaching vacancies at other schools.
Hurley has been heavily linked to the openings here in Pittsburgh and at UConn, but insists he’s focusing on his current team and that the coaching carousel talk isn’t a distraction for his team, which faces Trae Young and Oklahoma here in a first-round game on Thursday.
“I haven’t thought one second about any other team or program or what city I’m playing in, relative to who has a coaching vacancy,’ Hurley said.
“This is a special group of players that are recruited into this program. This program has become special. It’s our second straight trip to the NCAA Tournament after not being in one for a long time, and we built an amazing thing at Rhode Island. So that’s really the only thing I’ve ever thought about during the course of this season, is this team and our goals and trying to reach them.
“I have been on that — coaching rumors with me is something that — it’s a great reflection for the University, our program, and these players have made it — their efforts have made me attractive to other schools, so credit to the University and what they’ve been able to build in terms of the program and these great players.”
He added: “This isn’t the first time my name’s been connected to jobs. They’re used to it, I’m used to it and it’s not a distraction at all.”
Hurley, 45, is 149-104 (.589) in his career at Wagner and Rhode Island, and 111-81 (.578) with the Rams. This is his second straight NCAA berth with Rhode Island.
Pittsburgh fired head coach Kevin Stallings, and UConn fired Kevin Ollie. Hurley has been linked to both jobs. Two years ago, he turned down the Rutgers job to remain at Rhode Island.
“I feel like we never really felt like he was going to go anywhere because of his loyalty to us,” senior guard Jarvis Garrett said. “He always told us that he had our back no matter what, and that he wasn’t going to go anywhere and we trusted him so we believe he was never going anywhere.”
On Wednesday night, his brother, Bobby Hurley, will coach Arizona State against Syracuse in a play-in game that will be attended by Bob and Chris Hurley. The parents then planned to drive to Pittsburgh for the Rhode Island-Oklahoma game.
This story will be updated.
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.