University of Rhode Island basketball fans can breathe a sigh of relief, as head coach Dan Hurley has taken his name out of consideration for the head coaching job at Rutgers University, according to multiple reports.
Hurley, who has been the coach at URI since 2012, has revived the once-floundering Rams. Since he took over, he has rebuilt the program, resulting in a 62-64 record over four seasons. Despite being below .500, the Rams have had winning seasons the last two years, one NIT appearance and if it weren’t for injuries to E.C. Matthews and Hassan Martin, the Rams likely could have made the March Madness NCAA Tournament this year.
Hurley’s success in just four years caught the eyes of many programs, the latest one being Rutgers University. The Scarlet Knights play in the elite Big 10 Conference, a powerhouse that is currently represented by seven teams in the NCAA Tournament. Playing in such a large conference is usually a promotion for a coach, making the job particularly appealing. On top of that, Hurley has history with Rutgers, as he served as an assistant coach from 1997-2001.
Despite moving to the Big 10, the position at Rutgers also comes with many drawbacks. First, Rutgers has not made the tournament since 1991, whereas Rhode Island has not made it since 1999. They also play in a significantly tougher conference, which might explain their 7-25 record in 2015-16, with only one win coming in league play. Joining the Rutgers organization would also put Hurley in another position to rebuild a team. URI is projected to be a preseason top-25 team, according to CBS Sports and Bleacher Report.
Hurley staying is welcome news to all Rhody basketball fans. However, if the Rams have a successful season next year, he will once again be a hot commodity and might end up in a very high-profile job. Hurley has made URI a legitimate program again, but Rutgers will likely not be the only job opportunity that comes Hurley’s way in the near future.