Dan Hurley comments on Kentucky basketball job after leading UConn to back-to-back titles

Fresh off of winning back-to-back NCAA titles, UConn basketball coach Dan Hurley was asked late Monday night about his future with the Huskies’ program.

With John Calipari on his way out at the University of Kentucky — a move that Calipari announced in a video post on X on Tuesday afternoon — a question clearly related to that impending opening in Lexington was part of Hurley’s postgame press conference following UConn’s 75-60 victory over Purdue in the national championship game.

The 51-year-old coach was specifically asked if he intended to be back at UConn next season and if he could say that he would not be entertaining any conversations with any school that might have a job opening up the following day.

Hurley laughed out loud on the podium in Phoenix.

“Yeah, yeah, yeah,” Hurley said, still laughing. “I don’t think that’s a concern.”

He added that the question would be better suited for his wife, Andrea, who like Hurley, is a New Jersey native. “She’ll answer that question better than I can.”

According to ESPN, the UConn coach had more to say on the subject away from the podium.

“Oh my God, Kentucky or anywhere that’s going to take her further from New Jersey. I mean, we just went to Rhode Island, which I had to drag her to, and then to Connecticut. I got her closer. And now further? I can’t afford a divorce right now, too. I just started making money,” Hurley said.

He added there that he was thinking not about the Kentucky job but winning three consecutive NCAA titles at UConn — “like a dynasty in modern times” — a feat that has not been accomplished since UCLA did it more than 50 years ago. The Bruins, who won seven straight championships from 1967 and 1973, remain the only school in college basketball history to win more than two consecutive titles.

Earlier in his press conference, Hurley spoke about looking forward to the 2024-25 season with the Huskies, specifically saying that he and his staff would begin discussing the next UConn roster on the flight home Tuesday.

“We’re going to dive in and put together a roster that can play a comparable level of basketball to the one that you guys have witnessed the last two years,” Hurley said. “That’s, I know, what our mindset will be. We’re gonna be focusing on trying to put together a three-year run. Not just a two-year run.”

Out on the court about an hour earlier — just minutes after UConn won its second consecutive national title — Hurley talked about how the program had been “running college basketball” for the past 25-30 years, a fairly clear signal that he intends to stay put for a seventh season in Storrs.

“They give us all the resources we need to do it like this in March and April,” Hurley said.

UConn head coach Dan Hurley hoists the NCAA championship trophy after the Huskies defeated the Purdue Boilermakers in the national title game Monday night.
UConn head coach Dan Hurley hoists the NCAA championship trophy after the Huskies defeated the Purdue Boilermakers in the national title game Monday night.

Calipari, who has spent the past 15 years at Kentucky, has been in talks with Arkansas in recent days, and a deal to make him the next head coach of the Razorbacks was expected to be finalized Tuesday.

Hurley is in his sixth season at UConn after spending the previous six years at Rhode Island and two seasons before that at Wagner, his first college basketball head coaching job. He took Rhode Island to the second round of the NCAA Tournament in back-to-back seasons before landing the UConn gig, and the Huskies had not advanced past the first round of March Madness during his tenure until last year.

On Monday night, he became the first coach since Billy Donovan — another possible candidate for the Kentucky job — to win back-to-back national titles, and his Huskies have won all 12 of their NCAA Tournament games over the past two years by double digits. Hurley was named the Naismith Coach of the Year on Sunday.

While Hurley will continue to be linked to the Kentucky job until it is filled, his candidacy has been viewed as a long shot.

UConn has now won six NCAA titles in the past 25 years — leading national pundits to label the program a modern-day “blue blood” — and Hurley has spent his entire life in the northeast, playing for Seton Hall before beginning his coaching career at age 23 as an assistant under his father, Bob Hurley, one of the greatest high school basketball coaches in history.

Dan Hurley also spent nine years as the head coach at St. Benedict’s Prep (N.J.) before getting his first college job at Wagner.

After leading UConn to the national championship last season, Hurley signed a six-year, $32.1 million extension that would top out at $5.8 million for the 2028-29 season, the final year of that deal. The Huskies’ victory in Monday night’s NCAA title game puts Hurley in a position to make even more money moving forward, whether Kentucky makes a serious run at him or not.

Hurley also has a $7.5 million buyout if any school hires him away from UConn this offseason.

Huskies athletics director David Benedict told multiple outlets Monday night that the university would do “everything we possibly can” to keep Hurley at UConn.

Calipari still had five years and $44.5 million on his contract when he engaged in negotiations with Arkansas over the weekend, and he was due to make $9 million in each of the final four seasons of that deal, which was signed in 2019.

Earlier Monday night, both Alabama coach Nate Oats and former Villanova coach Jay Wright — two high-profile candidates linked to the Kentucky job — made it clear that they planned to stay in their current positions.

Oats led Alabama to its first Final Four this year, and Wright, who retired from coaching in 2022 after leading Villanova to two national championships, is now a commentator for CBS Sports.

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