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ESPN reports: UConn coach Dan Hurley expected to make decision

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Dan Hurley decided Monday to remain at UConn and not take Los Angeles’ offer.

STORRS, Conn. — University of Connecticut Men’s Basketball coach Dan Hurley is planning to stay at UConn instead of signing with the Los Angeles Lakers, according to the school. The story had been originally reported by ESPN on Monday. 

UConn sources said there will be a press conference Thursday afternoon, 

“I am humbled by this entire experience.” Dan Hurley said in a statement, “At the end of the day, I am extremely proud of the championship culture we have built at Connecticut. We met as a team before today’s workout and our focus right now is on getting better this summer and connecting as a team as we continue to pursue championships.”

“We are thrilled that Dan Hurley has made the decision to stay at UConn and continue building upon our championship tradition,” David Benedict said in a statement. “He has helped return our men’s basketball program back to the pinnacle of the sport, including back-to-back NCAA Championships, and we’re grateful for his loyalty to UConn.

We look forward to Dan’s continued leadership on and off the court at UConn. He will continue to bring great pride to Husky fans everywhere as we work toward a three-peat.

As we navigate the rapidly evolving college athletics landscape, your donations, more than ever, will be necessary to sustain our success. The continued financial commitment from loyal and new donors to both departmental operations and NIL activities, such as the Husky Athletic fund and Bleeding Blue For Good, will be paramount to remain competitive on the national stage.”

And it seems likely that Hurley will soon be richly rewarded for that decision: Shortly before the ESPN report, Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont, who was in contact with Hurley throughout the weekend, said the state will “make sure he’s the top-paid college coach” if he remains with the Huskies.

Hurley had the option of taking over one of the most famed franchises in pro sports, not to mention perhaps the chance to coach NBA all-time scoring leader LeBron James. But in the end, his stay in the coaching version of the transfer portal was brief — and he will remain at UConn, where he has gone 68-11 over the last two title-winning seasons.

On the way to those two titles, the fiery Hurley and the tough-as-nails Huskies have left no doubt — 12-0 in NCAA tournament games, winning by a staggering average of 21.7 points per contest. UConn will try to become the second program to win three straight men’s national titles; UCLA, the only men’s program to do better than going back-to-back, won seven in a row from 1967 through 1973.

Hurley will chase something rare by turning down the opportunity to something just as rare: leaving the reigning NCAA champions for the NBA.

The last time a coach made such a move was after the 1987-88 season, when Kansas won the NCAA title and Larry Brown decided to leave for the NBA. He took over the San Antonio Spurs, and Roy Williams became coach of the Jayhawks.

The Spurs gave Brown $3.5 million for five years, which was enormous money at the time yet nothing compared to what Hurley would have commanded from the Lakers — likely more than $10 million per season, or about double what he currently makes at UConn. And Brown went on to become the only coach to win both an NCAA title and an NBA championship; he got that title with Detroit in 2004.

Hurley had the chance to try to follow that same path. He may get the chance again one day — but for now, at least, the NBA can wait.

Hurley is 141-58 in his six seasons at UConn and 292-163 overall in 14 seasons as a collegiate coach — adding in his years at Wagner and Rhode Island.

He’s gone through four losing seasons in that span; his first year at Wagner, his first two at Rhode Island and his first year at UConn. Once he gets it rolling, the wins just pile up: take away how those stops started, and Hurley’s record is 241-90 — a .728 winning percentage.

And he’s been rewarded for that success; last June, he signed a $32.1 million, six-year deal.

“We’re going to try to replicate it again,” Hurley said in April after winning the second straight national title. “We’re going to maintain a championship culture. We’re bringing in some very talented high school freshmen. Our returning players, through player development, will take a big jump. We’ll strategically add through the portal. I don’t think that we’re going anywhere.”

The Lakers seemed like they almost got him to change his mind.

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RELATED: ESPN reports: LA Lakers to make offer to UConn coach Dan Hurley

RELATED: Who is Dan Hurley?

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ESPN reports: UConn coach Dan Hurley expected to make decision

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