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Hurley To URI Just A Matter Of Time

Friday, March 16, 2012


So here’s how it likely will go down.

Danny Hurley gets offered and accepts the URI men’s basketball coaching position clearing the way for his brother Bobby to succeed him as the men’s basketball coach at Wagner.

You read it here first on March 4th that Wagner’s Danny Hurley was the #1 candidate to replace Jim Baron at the University of Rhode Island. That has not changed. You also read it here first that Hurley and URI officials met and that Hurley has a definite interest in the job. That, too, has not changed.

It now appears just a matter of time before Hurley calls Kingston, Rhode Island his new home.

The second year head coach at Wagner is a Jersey guy and has a very good team returning next year which are two very good reasons for him to consider staying in Staten Island to coach the Seahawks. But those reasons are not good enough for him to reject the URI job.

First and foremost, it was spelled out here a few days ago that Hurley’s salary was among the lowest in the Northeast Conference (believed to be in the area of $125,000/year). URI will pay him almost 4 times that amount.

Second, in all due respect to the NEC, it’s not the Atlantic Ten. The NEC is a low major conference which traditionally sends only one team to the NCAA Tournament each year. The A-10 is a high mid-major conference which traditionally sends multiple teams to the big dance each year including 4 this March.

Thirdly, there aren’t many high mid-major or low-major jobs open in the northeast so Hurley doesn’t seem to have many options for an upgrade beyond URI. Had his team won the Northeast Conference tournament and made it to the NCAA’s, he likely would have been a candidate for a higher profile job like South Carolina. But that didn’t happen. And Hurley has to know that, even though he does have a talented team returning next season, there’s no guarantee that his star will be quite as bright as it is right now. A lot can go wrong to derail a season like injuries, upsets or just plain bad luck. Sometimes you need to strike while the iron is hot.

But that last reason that Hurley will likely soon accept the Rhode Island job has to do with family. You see, by Danny Hurley taking over the Rams’ head coaching post, he will not only improve his own position, he will also likely improve his brother Bobby’s as well. Barring the unexpected, Wagner would likely promote Bobby Hurley from assistant to head coach when Danny leaves for URI.

It all makes too much sense and, as we have said here before, it should all happen relatively fast.

Count on it Ram fans.


-The other candidates for the URI job are former URI and BC head coach Al Skinner, Kansas assistant Joe Dooley, Drexel head coach and former UMass head coach James “Bruiser” Flint and TCU head coach Jim Christian. Christian currently has a better job as the Horned Frogs will be heading to the Big 12 to compete next year. However, he is a former URI player and grad and still has family in the area which could make the job enticing for him.

Like we told you about the PC head coaching search last year at this time where Ed Cooley was THE guy and the rest were a distant second, this also appears to be about Hurley first and foremost with the others ranking well behind the Wagner coach.

-Sources confirm that if Billy Baron does decide to transfer from URI to another division 1 program that he will likely be granted a waiver by the NCAA to play right away at his new school. Given the unusual circumstances where Baron transferred to URI to play for his father, the NCAA would likely sympathize with him due to the fact that his father was fired by the school.

-A published report claims that Al Skinner has an interest in the South Carolina head coaching vacancy. No word on whether or not the Gamecocks are interested in Al.

One thing that South Carolina deserves credit for is not using a consulting firm to help him with the search. The school’s athletic director Eric Hyman told The Charleston Post and Courier, “I’d rather deal with basketball people [instead of a firm]. Basketball coaches have got a pretty good sense and feel for people. They’ve got a better feel for the marketplace than maybe a search firm would.”

The Post and Courier also speculated that Harvard’s Tommy Amaker, Wichita State’s Gregg Marshall, VCU’s Shaka Smart, New Mexico’s Steve Alford and Duke assistant Jeff Capel could be candidates to replace the recently fired Darrin Horn.

-In 1991, Syracuse became the first ever #2-seed to lost to a #15-seed in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament when they fell to the Richmond Spiders. Thursday the Orange almost became the first #1-seed to ever lose to a #16-seed when they held off NC-Ashville 72-65.

Playing without center Fab Melo who has been declared ineligible for the entire tournament, Syracuse played a disinterested brand of basketball on defense for the game’s first 30 minutes and threw up too many three attempts on offense. However, in the end, they buckled down on defense and beat the Bulldogs.

If Syracuse is to advance deep into the tournament, they will have to play much more aggressively on defense from the opening tap and not necessarily settle for three’s on the offensive end.

Still, without Melo, their chances of making it to the Final Four and winning a National Championship appear to be very slim.

-About 10 years ago, Gonzaga was the hot mid-major team each March. The last couple of years it was Butler. Now it’s Virginia Commonwealth. VCU made it all the way to the Final Four last year from the play-in game in Dayton as an 11-seed. This year the Rams are seeded 12th in the South Region where they knocked off 5th-seeded Wichita State Thursday night 62-59.

Head coach Shaka Smart resisted offers from bigger programs last offseason to stay at VCU. Will he do the same again this year? We shall see.


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