Dan Hurley’s Cold Shoulder

When’s the last time you turned down $70 million?

Upon buying a lottery ticket, most of us fantasize about the things we’d do if we won.  Pay off all our debt, travel the world, buy our loved ones a new house, tell our bosses to take their job and shove it.  That sure does sound nice.

When’s the last time you turned down an offer to work for one of the most successful, recognizable companies in the world, and to work alongside one of the most iconic individuals of all time towards a common goal?  When’s the last time you refused front row seats to any conceivable, high-end Hollywood engagement?  When’s the last time you heard someone turn down all of this, leaving the money grab in the envelope and the potential suitor scratching their head?

What rational resident of a town where it probably snows half the year turns down an offer to live amongst the stars in a city where it never rains?

Dan Hurley.  That’s who.  The Lakers made him an offer he could refuse.

In one earnest and heartfelt no thank you heard around the basketball world, the two-time national champion head coach of the University of Connecticut Huskies turned down the Los Angeles Lakers head coaching gig and the opportunity to sit alongside one of the greatest basketball players of all-time, LeBron James, as he rides off into the sunset.  Maybe hobnobbing with Rob Lowe and cruising Rodeo Drive is not Coach Hurley’s cup of tea. 

I suppose there’s something to be said for quality of life after all.

Anyone who has paid the slightest bit of attention to this man, or knows from whence he comes, should not be in the slightest bit surprised by his decision.  This is a man whose father coached 39 years at the same high school in New Jersey, winning 26 state championships and probably receiving (and turning down) multiple offers to go elsewhere.  This is a man who likely discussed nothing from basketball at family dinners since the age of six, and not just your casual basketball conversations but probably pretty heady stuff.  That’s not to suggest the Buss family never had serious conversations about basketball over dinner but I imagine those were probably a little more ornate than the Hurley household.

But still, $70 million.  That’ll buys a lot of In and Out burgers.

In the end, Hurley didn’t want to deal with the bullshit.  That’s not to say there’s no bullshit in Storrs.  There’s recruiting issues, the NCAA’s constant and inconsistent monitoring of its student athletes, college kid drama, NIL disputes and a grueling schedule that any college coach will tell you does not start in October and end in March.  The college coach’s job is a year-round, 24/7 gig.

There are only a handful of people on this planet who would turn down the opportunity to coach the Los Angeles Lakers.  Dan Hurley, as it turns out, is one of them.

He probably didn’t want to end up down the road portrayed in some television miniseries like Clipped or Winning Time, as delightfully sinful as they are to watch.  Dan Hurley keeps it real.  If you didn’t know that prior to the great Los Angeles Turndown of 2024, you sure know it now.  So does Jeanie Buss.

At a time where loyalty in sports only goes as far as a few extra zeroes on the paycheck, Dan Hurley reminded us, and all those ecstatic students in Storrs that he is a man of his word.  That, my friends, is commendable.

When making major life decisions, confidants will tell you to write the pros and cons down on a sheet of paper.  Despite their history, we all know the Lakers are a cluster of an organization.  Monday served as a stark reminder that they can’t always get what they want and for all those currently celebrating in UConn, sometimes, you just mind find, you get what you need.

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3 Replies to “Dan Hurley’s Cold Shoulder”

  1. Dan may find he’s in a different world in Storrs in 12 months and regret his decision, esp if he doesn’t get his cherished three-peat. College hoops is becoming pro hoops with more bs. Loyalty, legacy, etc really are being/have been pushed out of the college game, whether Hurley clings to it or not. Ask me if Hubert Davis name was inserted for Hurley’s what i would think or say and I may have a different perspective, haha. But it does seem there is no saving college hoops. There’s certainly no going back to “what it was” which is a relative term.

  2. 1) $70 million simply isn’t enough for any self-respecting coach to be forced to draft Bronny James.

    2) Let’s talk about Jeanie Buss for a minute. Remember when she was being lauded as one of the best executives in the NBA? Anybody care to notice the general decline of this franchise since Jerry Buss died and Phil Jackson left…

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