After six successful seasons at the helm of URI basketball, Dan Hurley has been hired by the University of Connecticut as the newest head basketball coach, per ESPN’s Jeff Goodman.

Once again, a mid-major program has served as a jumpstart for a talented coach, with Hurley getting a long-term deal from UConn. Lost in the shuffle is the impact this hire will have on the Pittsburgh basketball program. Pitt and UConn were the two finalists for Hurley’s services, before UConn ultimately won the sweepstakes. Now, after a winless campaign in the ACC, Pitt is left without a head coach and numerous players from their previous team.

Hurley would have been a fantastic hire for Pitt, accumulating a 113-82 record in six seasons with URI, including two consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances, and an Atlantic-10 Conference title in 2017-2018.

Multiple coaches have been linked to the opening, including tournament darlings Ryan Odom of UMBC, and Nate Oates of Buffalo.

The third major candidate in the coaching search post-Hurley is former Syracuse assistant and current Washington head coach Mike Hopkins.

Hopkins may be the most interesting of the bunch, as he was perceived to be the coach-in-waiting at Syracuse, but jumped at the opportunity to lead his own Power 5 program. Hopkins turned around Washington in his lone season as head coach, taking a team that went 9-22 in 2016-2017, to a 21-13 record and an NIT appearance in 2017-2018. On top of his success as a head coach, Hopkins is also heralded as a top-notch recruiter, evidenced by an incoming class containing two four-star and two three-star players.

In addition to a new head coach, Pitt is also in dire need of a new roster, as at least eight players have asked for their release in order to transfer schools. There is no way to sugarcoat this situation, Pitt is screwed. The scarcity of players at Pittsburgh certainly does not make the job attractive. However, there is one thing that makes just about any job attractive, money. It’s time for Pitt administrators to make like an assistant coach and drop the bag. Nothing says “we want you to lead our program” more than a boatload of cash. Hell, if the recruits are getting paid, why would a prospective coach not want absurd amounts of money? For Pitt, that absurd amount of money would have to outweigh the sorry state of the program. Get your checkbooks out boosters.

Leave a Reply