Dan Hurley decides to stay with U-Conn. after being courted by Lakers

After being courted by the Los Angeles Lakers for their vacant coaching position, Dan Hurley will remain at the University of Connecticut, where he led the Huskies to the last two NCAA men’s basketball national championships.

Hurley’s decision was first reported by ESPN, which said he turned down a six-year, $70 million contract offer from the Lakers.

“I am humbled by this entire experience,” Hurley said in a statement shared on social media by the school Monday afternoon. “Ultimately, I am extremely proud of the championship culture we have built at Connecticut. We met as a team before today’s practice and our focus is on improving this summer and bonding as a team as we continue to aim for championships.

ESPN reported Sunday that Hurley, 51, met with the Lakers on Friday and left Los Angeles “extremely impressed” with general manager Rob Pelinka and owner Jeanie Buss. Hurley told ESPN the team made a “compelling case” for him to move to the NBA. The Lakers have been looking for a new coach since firing Darvin Ham after two seasons on May 3.

Ultimately, Hurley decided to stay with Connecticut, where his teams went 141-58 (.709) over six seasons, including a 68-11 mark over the last two campaigns. The Huskies became the first team to win back-to-back men’s basketball national titles since Florida in 2006 and 2007 and will look to become the first program to complete a three-peat since John Wooden’s UCLA teams won seven consecutive titles from 1967 to 1973.

U-Conn. loses four starters, including NBA draft lottery picks Donovan Clingan and Stephon Castle, but returns forward Alex Karaban, who withdrew his name from this month’s draft. Hurley also signed another strong recruiting class, led by top-10 recruit Liam McNeeley, and added one of the best players available in the transfer portal in St. Mary’s star guard Aidan Mahaney.

Hurley signed a six-year contract extension worth $32.1 million with Connecticut in June 2023. His decision to stay at school comes two decades after the Lakers tried and failed to hire Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski to the NBA ranks in 2004 after parting ways with Phil Jackson. , who returned to the team the following year. Before turning down the Lakers, Hurley, the son of high school Hall of Fame coach Bob Hurley and brother of former Duke star and current Arizona State coach Bobby Hurley, declined interest in the position in Kentucky became available after the departure of John Calipari.

“The last thing on my mind is somewhere else,” Hurley, who coached at Wagner and Rhode Island before U-Conn. hired him in 2018, said after the Huskies beat Purdue for their second straight title in April. “We are currently in a consecutive position in an era that makes things difficult to achieve. Now I’m thinking in your brain, as I look around the locker room, the chance to do it three times, like a dynasty in modern times. That’s what I’m thinking about.

Meanwhile, the Lakers’ coaching search continues amid uncertainty over 39-year-old forward LeBron James’ future with the team. James, who can become an unrestricted free agent this summer, praised U-Conn’s “super creative” offense. during an April podcast. The Lakers also interviewed former NBA players JJ Redick and Sam Cassell as well as former Charlotte Hornets coach James Borreg after losing in the first round of the playoffs.

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