KINGSTON, R.I. (WPRI) — Following days of speculation over the future of University of Rhode Island men’s basketball head coach Dan Hurley, Eyewitness News confirmed Thursday morning Hurley is headed to Connecticut.
Hurley met with the team early Thursday morning to tell them of his decision. According to reports, Hurley’s contract with UConn is for 6 years and $3.1 million.
Sources tell Eyewitness News that URI offered Hurley $2 million a year for seven years beginning in 2019, along with program upgrades including plans for a practice facility, raises for his staff and the ability to charter to all road games.
Hurley was “blown away” by the offer but decided to join a program that has won four national championships since 1999.
“It was certainly more than I was expecting,” Hurley said in an interview with Eyewitness News. “URI really stepped up to the plate and made it a really hard decision.”
Hurley resurrected a Rams program, bringing them to two straight NCAA Tournaments and winning Atlantic 10 regular season and conference tournament titles – all achievements that had not been done in Kingston this millennium. Hurley was honored as the A-10 Coach of the Year for the 2017-2018 season.
“It was so hard to make that final choice,” Hurley said. “Having spent time in this state and the pride people have had the past two years, for the program especially. Just how this whole thing has changed, just knowing the impact of the decision I was going to make, it was hard.”
Reports that Hurley was being courted by UConn and Pittsburgh surfaced earlier in the week.
Hurley, who has coached the Rams for the past six seasons, was under contract with URI until 2024 and was making approximately $1 million per year. He met with URI Athletic Director Thorr Bjorn and other staff members this week.
“I came here with a mindset and a checklist of what I wanted to accomplish and raise this program to a certain level,” Hurley said. “Do I feel like I’ve done my part? Absolutely. Do I feel like I could’ve accomplished more staying here? Definitely. But for me it felt like it was time with this job and this opportunity… It was too much to pass up.”
UConn will introduce Hurley in a Friday press conference.
Thorr told Eyewitness News that Associate Head Coach David Cox is a strong candidate for the job.
When asked about Cox, Hurley said he would be a great choice.
“He’s head coaching material, he’s been since he set foot on campus,” Hurley said. “There’s no assistant that has made a bigger impact on the program.”
Cox is currently running day to day activities for the team and is reaching out to recruits. He told Eyewitness News he considers himself a strong candidate for the job.