UConn putting focus on Hurley to be next head coach of men's basketball program

Published on Monday, 19 March 2018 21:02
Written by NEILL OSTROUT

JOURNAL INQUIRER

The UConn men’s basketball team had not hired a new head coach as of Monday, though that is likely to change at any minute this week.

The Huskies are expected to zero in on Rhode Island coach Danny Hurley to fill their vacancy, especially now that Hurley’s Rams have been ousted from the NCAA Tournament.

Kevin Ollie was fired by UConn on March 10 after six years as the Huskies head coach.

Hurley was asked about his future coaching opportunities after URI’s loss to Duke on Saturday in the tournament’s second round.

“I could give a crap about who’s got an opening,” Hurley told reporters. “I haven’t thought about it for a second. I could care less about any other school in the country that’s looking for a coach or talks about me on social media.”

Hurley’s contract with URI pays him approximately $1 million per season, and runs through 2024. He could perhaps triple that salary should he join the Huskies or another top program.

Hurley said last week that he had yet to have any contact with UConn or any other school, though that doesn’t mean inroads haven’t been made by the Huskies to lure him away from their neighboring state.

“My agent (Jordan Bazant) is smart enough to have no contact with me while the season’s going on,” Hurley said. “He knows who I am and what type of people my family are. That’s not typical of this business.”

Hurley, clearly a favorite to land the UConn job, is also being courted to some degree by Pittsburgh as well. The Panthers have a vacancy created by the recent firing of Kevin Stallings.

A number of Pitt players have already announced their intention to transfer, and a local product has joined that list.

Jared Wilson-Frame, a former Windsor High standout who was the Panthers’ leading scorer this season, told ESPN over the weekend that he is planning to transfer.

A 6-foot-5 wing player, Wilson-Frame averaged a team-high 13.0 points and 3.5 rebounds for Pitt as a junior. Unless he is granted a waiver of some sort, Wilson-Frame would have to sit out the upcoming college basketball season if he transfers to another Division I school. The 21-year-old would then have one season of eligibility remaining.

As for the Huskies’ departing head coach, Ollie is challenging his firing “with cause” and attempting to recover the more than $10 million left on his contract. The American Association of University Professors, of which Ollie is a member, is helping the coach appeal the school’s decision that the preliminary findings from the ongoing NCAA investigation into the program constitute “just cause” and are grounds for his immediate removal.

Ollie’s hearing with UConn Athletic Director David Benedict has been scheduled for this week, though the exact date and time of the meeting is a rather well-kept secret.

Ollie is technically on paid leave pending the outcome of his appeal, the union insists.

UConn has experienced back-to-back losing seasons under Ollie, after not having going through even one such campaign since 1986-87 prior.

Raphael Chillious is presently serving as the Huskies’ interim head coach.



Posted in New Britain Herald, UConn on Monday, 19 March 2018 21:02. Updated: Monday, 19 March 2018 21:04.