UConn’s Dan Hurley rejects Lakers’ head coach offer, will chase three-peat

UConn’s men’s basketball coach Dan Hurley has turned down the Lakers’ $70 million offer to lead the NBA team.

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, citing unnamed sources, first reported Hurley’s decision.

UConn has won two straight NCAA titles with Hurley, 51, at the helm and the coach is reportedly eager to chase a third straight championship. UConn has gone 141-58 during Hurley’s tenure, including a 68-11 mark during their title-winning seasons that transformed the program into a juggernaut. He is reportedly negotiating with UConn on a new contract.

Hurley told ESPN the Lakers’ made a “compelling case” but the potential to make history at UConn was too great to pass up. While the team lost starters Donovan Clingan, Stephon Castle and first-team All-America point guard Tristen Newton to the NBA draft, the Huskies are expected to be a preseason top-five squad.

No men’s team has won three or more championships in a row since John Wooden coached stars like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Bill Walton at powerhouse UCLA in the ’60s and ’70s, including seven in a row from 1967-73.

Hurley joins Hall of Fame coach Mike Krzyzewski, a five-time national champion at Duke, who famously turned down the Lakers in 2004 after a pursuit led by Kobe Bryant.

Prior to coaching at UConn, Hurley was the head coach at Rhode Island and at Wagner University on Staten Island. He started coaching at St. Benedict’s Prep in Newark before jumping to the college ranks. His father, Bob Hurley Sr., coached at St. Anthony High School in Jersey City for decades. His brother Bobby Jr. is the head coach at Arizona State.

“Our MVP Coach is staying in CT,” Gov. Ned Lamont posted on social media. “Now let’s get ready for a #3peat, because Connecticut knows champions are built here!”

The Lakers, who fired coach Darvin Ham after two seasons and one trip to the Western Conference Finals, offered Hurley a six-year contract. The snub is the latest twist in a high-profile job search that has seen former NBA player and current ESPN analyst JJ Redick also circle the position.

New Orleans Pelicans assistant James Borrego (who has a strong relationship with star Anthony Davis), Golden State Warriors assistant Kenny Atkinson and Minnesota Timberwolves assistant Micah Nori are reportedly among the other candidates the team wants to interview.

NBA Insider Marc Stein reports former Villanova head coach Jay Wright, who has two college titles as well, could be an option for Los Angeles, which is coming off a first-round playoff exit.

The team wants to have its new coach in place before the NBA Draft on June 26, according to The Athletic.

The hire will likely need the blessing of James, who has a June 29 deadline to exercise his $51.4 million player option for the 2024-25 season.