Dan Hurley
Dan Hurley (Sarah Stier/Getty Images)

In 2018, the University of Connecticut was done with head coach at the time, Kevin Ollie. Although Ollie brought a title to UConn he had more losing seasons. Those losing seasons coupled with NCAA allegations is what finally got Ollie the boot. Following his departure, the university set out on their search for a new head coach. The program then hired Dan Hurley.

Hurley came to UConn following six years at Rhode Island, where he took a program that was 7-23 in the year before he arrived to a combined record of 51-18 and two NCAA tournament appearances in his final two years, URI’s first NCAA appearances in 18 years, and A-10 Coach of the Year. In each year, Hurley guided the Rams to a first-round NCAA tourney victory. In his six seasons as the head coach for Rhode Island, Hurley’s teams were a combined 113-82 (.579), but an even more impressive 91-43 (.679) with two NCAA appearances and an NIT berth during his last four years. Throughout the Ollie saga there were many ups and downs. But UConn went out and found the man they needed to resurrect the program. The one who will bring Storrs back to the national stage.

“I continue to root for UConn. I think they got a good coach — with a chance to be a great coach.” — Jim Calhoun, upon Dan Hurley’s March 2018 hiring.

In his first season as the head coach he led the team to a record of 16-17 (.484). Although still a losing record it was 2 more wins than the previous year. Just watching the games you could tell players bought in to what he is about and love playing for him. The improvements from Ollie’s final year into Hurley’s first year were big. This season the team currently has a record of 10-7 (.588). With that, they have a record of 1-3 against teams in the Top 25. It may be a losing record but all 3 losses were by 6 points or less. And 2 of them went into double overtime. Hurley is looking to lead the team to its second win against a top 25 tonight against Houston. It will be a tough challenge but he will have his team ready.

The Interview

Recently I was able to ask Dan Hurley a couple of questions about the team and the future of the program. Before I get into the questions I would like to give a big thanks to Coach Hurley for taking the time to answer my questions.

ME: What types of changes are you making since you have taken over as head coach in order to get the program back to a championship contending team?

DH: We are in the process of implementing a culture of winning, on the court, in the classroom, on the campus and in the community. We are doing our best to recruit the type of talented, high-character student-athletes that will allow us to pursue championships. Everyone would like instant success, but building a winning program is a process.

ME: How do both you and the rest of the team and program feel about moving back to the Big East? And how has it affected recruiting, fan attendance and overall mood at the university?

DH: Naturally, we are excited about our return to the Big East, where UConn enjoyed so much success. But at this point, we are more focused on playing as well as we can in our final season in the American Conference and leaving a successful legacy.

ME: How do you expect the rest of the conference play to go and potentially postseason?

DH: From what we have seen so far, the conference is a balanced league in which any team is capable of beating any other team on a given night. We want to be part of the mix as the league teams go after postseason bids.

ME: With that what adjustments will you be making due to the season ending injury to Tyler Polley?

DH: When Tyler got hurt, we lost probably our best pure outside shooter, but it means more opportunity for others to step up and show they can help the team win.

Head coach Dan Hurley is a man who wants to win and is embracing the tough task of rebuilding UConn. He will bring the one to bring UConn back to national prominence. With the move back to Big East next season means better games, better recruits, and hopefully wins.

If Dan Hurley and the promise and hope he brings to this program don’t have you feeling like this, then you aren’t alive