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.
Bobby Hurley wants to be a Division I head coach eventually, but for now he has chosen to bypass the offer to take over at Wagner College and follow his younger brother to Rhode Island instead.
“I was offered the job [at Wagner],” Hurley told SNY.tv in his first interview since his brother, Dan, accepted the Rhode Island job Tuesday.
“It was obviously a very difficult decision,” added Hurley, the No. 7 pick in the 1993 NBA Draft. “I believe in the players that are in the program [at Wagner] and the kids that we have in the program. The people who I’ve worked with have been great over the last two years. It’s been a great two years for me.”
Hiring Bobby, the former two-time NCAA champion at Duke, would have established continuity for Wagner and its players. He was an assistant at the school for two years and served as a huge recruiting draw for many of the players (and their parents) in the talented incoming recruiting class.
Asked if he eventually wanted to be a head coach, Bobby said: “Absolutely, I’m doing this for two years and it’s a process. It’s a progression. I think I was ready to do it but the commitment is to Dan. I believe in him and what he’s going to do at Rhode Island and I think there’s a reasons to believe that it could be a success.”
Rhode Island made a strong commitment to Dan and wanted Bobby to come along. Dan agreed to a six-year deal worth in the neighborhood of $4 million.
“I understand Rhode Island made a very strong commitment to Dan and myself in terms of bringing us in here,” said Bobby, who was in attendance Tuesday night at the Izod Center as his father, Hall of Fame coach Bob Hurley Sr., led St. Anthony to its 12th New Jersey Tournament of Champions title and back-to-back undefeated seasons.
Asked if he had any concerns that he might not get another head coaching offer soon, Hurley said: “I do understand the value of being a head coach at a Division 1 program, and not only at a Division 1 program but a program that is definitely moving in the right direction and is coming off a very successful season and has good young players in it.”
Two years after Wagner went 5-26, Dan and Bobby led the Seahawks to a 25-6 record this year. The school failed to land an NIT bid, something that was frustrating for Dan.
“There’s a lot to like about Wagner and I enjoyed working for everyone there, so it made my decision that much harder,” Bobby said.
It remains unclear how much of Dan’s Wagner staff will follow him to Rhode Island.
Bashir Mason, a Wagner assistant and former assistant to Dan at St. Benedict’s Prep, is interested in becoming the head coach at Wagner.
Cincinnati assistant Darren Savino, who played with the Hurleys at St. Anthony, and Iona assistant Jared Grasso, who recruited most of the players on this year’s NCAA Tournament team, are also thought to be potential candidates. Notre Dame assistant Martin Inglesby is also an option.
Bobby Hurley said he and is brother would love to see some continuity at Wagner in order to keep the team and its recruiting class intact. The gem of the recruiting class is 6-4 Dwaun Anderson, a Michigan State transfer who is set to become eligible midseason.
“Something that we’re hoping for is that there’s some type of continuity that continues,” Bobby said. “We don’t want to see kids in the program leave, so we’re hoping that maybe someone might be able to continue on with what we did would have a good chance at possibly keeping everything together.”
While Wagner moves forward with its search, Bobby and Dan must now forge ahead, transplanting their families and their lives from New Jersey to Rhode Island.
“It’s going to be a transition,” Bobby said. “I love the New York area. Most of my family is there, my wife’s family, so it’s definitely a leap of faith. It will be a transition. I have children who are going through an adjustment, too, so there are a lot of things to consider in this decision but ultimately we thought it was the right fit for our family.”
Photo: Wagner College
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.