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Hurley, Skinner, Miller Early Favorites at URI

Sunday, March 04, 2012

 

The URI men’s basketball head coaching position has been vacant for just hours, but GoLocalProv.com has learned that there is a clear cut front-runner for the job.

Wagner Seahawks men’s basketball coach Danny Hurley is apparently the apple of URI athletic director Thorr Bjiorn’s eye in these very early stages of the search process. Hurley is just completing his second season on Staten Island where he led the Seahawks to a (25-5) overall record this season which included a (15-3) record in league play which was good enough for second in the Northeast Conference.

Among Wagner’s victories early in the season was a win over then 13th-ranked Pittsburgh 59-54 on December 29th. Wagner hosts Robert Morris in semifinal round action of the NEC tournament today.

Hurley is far from the only viable candidate for the job and GoLocalProv.com has also learned that there are at least two other coaches who are high on the Rams’ radar screen as well.

Former URI and Boston College head coach Al Skinner and former Brown and Penn head coach and current UConn assistant coach Glen Miller may also get interviews for the job.

Skinner told me last month at the Rhode Island Prep Invitational at Rhode Island College that he does want to get back into coaching this year. Skinner was the head coach at URI from 1988-1997 where he put together the team that Jim Harrick took to the Elite 8 in 1998. Skinner also did a tremendous job at Boston College (1997-2010) in both the Big East and the ACC before being unceremoniously dumped by AD Gene DeFilippo two years ago.

URI AD Thorr Bjorn is also from UMass where Skinner was a great player back in the day.  Whether that UMass connection is a factor for Skinner is unknown, but it can't hurt.

Rhode Island fans best remember Miller for changing the culture of the Brown men’s basketball program from 1999-2006. On his watch, the Bears consistently competed at the top of the Ivy League standings where they had never been before. He also led them to the unofficial state championship in Rhode Island beating both PC and URI in the 2001-2002 season, a feat rarely accomplished at Brown.

Miller took the Bears to the NIT in 2003 and left for Penn in 2006. In his first season with the Quakers, he led the program to the NCAA tournament where they played Texas A&M tough in the opening round. Things went downhill from there due to a number of injuries to key players in the ensuing years eventually costing him his job.

His former college coach Jim Calhoun quickly picked him up adding him to his staff. While in Providence last year, Calhoun said of Miller, “I can’t tell you how much I love this guy! I knew that he was a great coach but never realized how good until I brought him back. I can understand why he was so successful and so well-liked at Brown.”

Miller remains on the staff at UConn where he won a National Championship with the Huskies last season.

There are sure to be other names considered for the URI men’s basketball head coaching vacancy. But, early on, these are three of the names who will figure prominently in the search.
 

 

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