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Dan Hurley Rejects Lakers' Offer, Remains at UConn to Pursue 3rd Consecutive NCAA Title
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By Associated Press
Published 2 days ago on
June 10, 2024

Dan Hurley turns down a $70 million, six-year offer from the Lakers and will stay at UConn to seek a third straight NCAA title. (AP File)

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Dan Hurley is staying at Connecticut after turning down a six-year, $70 million offer to take over the Los Angeles Lakers, ESPN reported on Monday.

Hurley’s decision ended several days of speculation about his future and gives him an opportunity to try to guide the Huskies to a third consecutive NCAA championship.

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’s Decision to Stay at UConn

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.

Historical Context of Hurley’s Decision

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’s Future Prospects

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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