UConn’s Dan Hurley: ‘No way’ he would entertain Kentucky coaching job

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Dan Hurley entered a rare situation Monday night, becoming the third men’s college basketball coach to repeat as a national champion since the end of John Wooden’s dynasty at UCLA in the 1970s And when it was over — a 75-60 victory over Purdue marking Connecticut’s 12th straight double-digit NCAA tournament victory — Hurley found himself in another very small club: coaches who have won it all and have immediately had to consider the possibility of leaving for another program. Such is life when you’re the hottest coach in the sport and the Kentucky job unexpectedly becomes available on the eve of the championship game.

“I don’t think it concerns me,” Hurley said. Athleticism. When asked more directly if there was any way he could take the Kentucky job, Hurley said, “No way.” »

Hurley added that one of the reasons he would never go is because he wasn’t going to drag his wife even further away from New Jersey.

“I can’t afford to divorce right now. I just started making money.

UConn athletic director David Benedict said Athleticism after Monday night’s championship game, the program would do “everything we can to stay in position to win championships.”

“The market is the market and Kentucky is obviously Kentucky, but last time I checked we won the last two national championships and we have six,” Benedict said. “So I think UConn is doing a really good job and Dan is doing an incredible job.

“We obviously hope he will be with us for a long time. UConn has a tradition of keeping coaches who have reached the Hall of Fame level at UConn for a long time – Coach (Jim) Calhoun, Coach (Geno) Auriemma. I’m sure they’ve had plenty of opportunities to leave and we certainly hope Dan follows suit.

Hurley’s mind seems set on bringing more championships to Connecticut.

“The last thing I think about is somewhere else,” Hurley said. “We are currently in a consecutive position in an era that makes things difficult to achieve. Now you’re thinking in your brain, as I look at this locker room, I wish I had the chance to do it three times. A dynasty in modern times. That’s what I’m thinking about.

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Kentucky, an eight-time national champion and one of the two winningest programs in college basketball history, suddenly needs a new coach because Hall of Famer John Calipari made sensation Sunday night when he agreed to take the same job at Arkansas. He was halfway through a 10-year, $86 million contract but hadn’t made it past the second weekend of the NCAA Tournament since signing that contract in 2019. The Wildcats have deep pockets , all the attributes of a blue blood and they must succeed in this rental for a passionate and impatient fan base.

Kentucky athletic director Mitch Barnhart has some big decisions to make, and Hurley might be the biggest decision. He just became the first coach to back-to-back since Billy Donovan to Florida in 2006 and 2007. Mike Krzyzewski and Duke also repeated in 1991 and 1992. After his first title last season, Hurley signed a new contract for 32.1 $ over six years. Million dollar contract that pays him an average of $5.35 million and tops out at $5.8 million in year six. UConn would be owed a $7.5 million buyout if another school hired him after this season.

Given Connecticut’s dire financial situation — and Kentucky’s status in the money-printing SEC — it stands to reason that the school that had to pay Calipari $9 million a year to the end of his last deal could significantly outbid the Huskies if money matters to Hurley. .

“I’m not going to talk about it. Money is a factor in many ways,” Benedict said. “It’s the resources, it’s the support. Nowadays it’s NIL and all these different things that impact your ability to be successful. It would be hard to say that we haven’t been able to put this type of formula together for Coach. We proved we can do it before Dan and now that Dan is here. We’re in this for the long haul.

Former UConn star Ray Allen also had a message for Kentucky during the celebration Monday night:

“I don’t know anyone who could be in a more serious situation right now,” Allen said. Athleticism. “In six years, he’s carved out an incredible niche for himself here in Connecticut. This is a great opportunity. And I was recruited by Kentucky, so Kentucky and Connecticut have always been programs that are kind of similar. But Hurley is our guy.

“And the people of Connecticut have embraced it, they love it. What’s interesting is that success is success here because of Storrs, because of the kids you have here. Success is different in Kentucky, and that’s what Kentucky should be looking for: someone who can build right there in Kentucky. But this is UConn, this is Storrs and Danny Hurley is our guy.

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(Photo: Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

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