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Dan Hurley introduced as newest head coach of men's basketball program yesterday

By Mike Abelson
On March 22, 2012

 

With a crowd of nearly 500 people on hand, Dan Hurley was introduced as the newest coach of the University of Rhode Island men's basketball program.

Hurley will take the reins from Jim Baron who led the Rams the past 11 seasons after spending the last two years revitalizing the program at Wagner College in Staten Island, N.Y. His brother, former Duke star, Bobby will join the staff as an assistant coach.

Athletic Director Thorr Bjorn praised Hurley and said that he was the lead candidate for the job from the beginning.

"A while back to put a profile on paper about what I was looking for in our new head coach," Bjorn said. "It was amazing how as I was putting down adjectives and descriptions, right off the piece of paper, I started seeing a picture of Dan Hurley start coming out. He's a first-class individual."

Hurley, who cut his teeth at Saint Benedict's Prep in New Jersey, led the Grey Bees to a 223-21 record in his nine years at the helm. Hurley's teams produced 37 NCAA Division-I scholarship players.

Hurley said he was excited about leading the Rams and the buzz around the program.

"I'm thrilled to be here," Hurley said. "It's an incredible opportunity for me. I'm incredibly excited to be the new head coach of the University of Rhode Island men's basketball program. Everyone involved with the University of Rhode Island that I've had a chance to meet and talk to over the last week, especially Dr. [David M.] Dooley and Thorr, it's clear to me that we've got the same vision: to build a program that this entire state and university can be proud of."

Bjorn met with Hurley for nearly four hours in a New Jersey diner talking about basketball and life. Bjorn said that the conversation helped sell him that Hurley was the man for the job.

"I knew I liked him before from talking on the phone with him a little bit, but after spending that quality time with him it was even better," Bjorn said. "He's a very loyal guy. He's loyal to his players. That's one of things that impressed me the most about him. That's something about him that I really admire."

During his speech Hurley thanked his father, wife, children and his brother for being there for him along his coaching journey.

Hurley joked with his brother but said that his coaching experience has been made all the better by having his best friend by his side.

"He doesn't look quite like the same guy that won all those national championships and Sports Illustrated covers, but he looks pretty good," Hurley said.             "We grew up together in the sport as best friends and brothers. To have coached the last two years with him at Wagner and to have him by my side is a special situation, but we're going to build a special program."

While the future is bright for the Rhode Island program, Hurley was quick to praise Wagner for giving him a chance to lead, and turnaround, a program.

"I'd like to thank Wagner College," Hurley said. "They gave me an opportunity two years ago to take over a 5-26 program that was one of the worst in the country, and in two years with their assistance and with a great deal of hard work we were able to turn it around."

As important as winning is, Hurley stressed that producing quality men, as well as quality basketball players, was just as important.

"The style of basketball that we're going to play is going to be a reflection of the way our guys are going to live their lives off the court," Hurley said. "We're going to be attack and we're going to be aggressive at both ends of the court, and they're going to attack their lives as students and as people with that same aggressiveness."

Hurley's father, and hall-of-fame coach, Bob Sr. said that it was a good move for his son to come to URI, coach and raise his two sons Danny Jr. and Andrew.

Bob Hurley said that it was great day for the entire Hurley family.

"This is a great day for us because we really enjoyed their two years at Wagner and this seems to be the next step in their career, but one where the roots are going to be more permanent," the elder Hurley said. "I can see the quality of life and the grandkids liking living here and them competing hard in what's a great league."

Hurley said that his sons should be able to quickly turn the program and attract quality recruits quickly.

With the introductions complete the work now begins for Hurley and his staff. The spring signing period begins in mid-April and the Rams, as of this printing, will have three open scholarship spots on next season's roster. Hurley said he was excited about the tradition and facilities at URI.

"There's been success here, and it's a great conference," Hurley said. "There have been some great coaches that have coached here. It's a great job. It's a place where you can go and recruit well too. There is some talent in the program and we're excited to get started."

As far as predictions for wins and losses next year, Hurley said that he'd rather judge success by something more than the numbers.

"I try not to set a number goal," Hurley said. "The first year is an establishing year in how we're going to play. We want to be the hardest playing team in the country. At Wagner this year we were in the top-50 in the country in both scoring and defense. We want to establish a championship-winning culture, and you have to do that before you can start competing for titles."


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