Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Dan Hurley staying at UConn, turns down Lakers’ head coaching job

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Dan Hurley is staying at UConn.

There is a collective sigh of relief in Connecticut following a four-day wait, and another reason to rejoice in the state after the head coach of the reigning back-to-back national champion Huskies elected to turn down the Los Angeles Lakers‘ offer and instead stay at UConn.

Hurley announced his decision Monday, turning down a reported six-year, $70 million offer from the Lakers, according to ESPN.

After news broke Thursday that Hurley was the top target of Lakers owner Jeanie Buss and VP/GM Rob Pelinka, and that the Lakers were determined to reel in the 51-year-old, who is the coaching face of men’s basketball right now, having gone 68-11 with two national titles over the last two years, talks continued to accelerate, and led Hurley to fly to Los Angeles. Accompanied by his wife Andrea and his representation, Hurley began meeting Friday with the Lakers.

But what this decision to stay at UConn comes down to is the fact Hurley has built the best program in men’s college basketball, he has assembled another top-tier roster highlighted by Alex Karaban withdrawing from the NBA Draft and returning to run it back — and history is on the table. Hurley can join John Wooden next April as the only coaches to win three straight national championships. More than anything, though, Hurley’s decision to stay comes down to this: you don’t mess with happiness. He is on cloud nine and has reached a state of nirvana in Storrs.

For UConn, this serves as the latest victory in the Huskies’ return to blue-blood status in the sport.

Hurley is dominating college basketball and has total control of both his program and the sport right now. He would have gone from king of the world at this level to a complete 180 culture shock, making the transition from college head coach to NBA coach, and dealing with the two huge personalities in superstars LeBron James and Anthony Davis.

This decision was never really money-driven for Hurley, and he’s been a Northeast guy all of his life, the son of high school legend Bob Hurley Sr., who still lives with his wife in Jersey City, New Jersey, and is a fixture at Gampel Pavilion and the XL Center.

Why did Dan Hurley turn down the Lakers?

This news does come as a surprise in some regards because Hurley has aspired to be an NBA coach and has talked about it at length in recent years, but said it would be something he’d look at “way down the road.” But the Lakers brand is different, and this opportunity was certainly appetizing. That being said, Hurley and his wife are not messing with happiness. The Lakers franchise has been dysfunctional as of late, with seven different head coaches in the last 15 seasons. That’s a lot of turnover.

Instead, he’s staying at UConn, entering a seventh season, which is an all-time win in Huskies history, a big win for the Big East and a story that gives a great boost to the world of college basketball. One of the sport’s biggest characters is staying around, and turning down the Lakers to do so is quite a feather in the cap for Connecticut and college hoops.

John Fanta is a national college basketball broadcaster and writer for FOX Sports. He covers the sport in a variety of capacities, from calling games on FS1 to serving as lead host on the BIG EAST Digital Network to providing commentary on The Field of 68 Media Network. Follow him on Twitter @John_Fanta.

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