Dan Hurley’s UConn Huskies are advancing to the Final Four as the favourites to win the championship. However, Hurley’s journey to this moment hasn’t always been smooth sailing. As the son of renowned high school basketball coach Bob Hurley Sr. and brother of Duke basketball legend Bobby Hurley, the pressure was immense during Dan’s college years at the Seton Hall basketball program. In 1993, he took a year-long leave from the program, struggling with excessive drinking, partying, and seeking unhealthy coping mechanisms.
According to Brendan Quinn of The Athletic, Dan Hurley told Seton Hall basketball beat writers that he hated basketball at the time. “I wanted nothing to do with it,” Hurley said, via Quinn. “When I took the leave, I wasn’t sure if I’d ever play again. I locked myself in my dorm room for like two days. No one could get at me, and no one could find me. F***, man, I didn’t want to play. I didn’t even want to watch it.”
Hurley admitted he didn’t have many people to confide in during this difficult period. “When you’re from Jersey City, and your dad is tough as nails, and your brother is tough as nails, and everyone in your neighbourhood is tough as nails – for me, I needed to show some vulnerability,” Hurley said, via Quinn. “I didn’t have a lot of people I could open up to. I felt like I needed to tell people I was hurting, that I was in a bad way.”
Eventually, Hurley discovered his passion for coaching. He started at Saint Benedict’s Prep, moved on to the college ranks with Wagner, helped build the University of Rhode Island’s program, and finally arrived at the University of Connecticut to restore the Huskies’ former glory. Now, Dan Hurley is just two wins away from securing the fifth National Championship in UConn’s history.
Image credit: Liam Enea