Dan Hurley decides to stay at U-Conn after being courted by the Lakers

After being courted by the Los Angeles Lakers for their vacant head coaching position, Dan Hurley will remain at the University of Connecticut, where he led the Huskies to the last two NCAA men's basketball championships, a person familiar with his decision confirmed Monday afternoon.

Neither Hurley nor the school immediately commented directly on the decision, but the Connecticut men's basketball team posted on X that practice was underway, a cheeky indication that it was business as usual for the Huskies.

Hurley’s decision was first reported by ESPN.

ESPN reported Sunday that Hurley, 51, met with the Lakers on Friday and left Los Angeles “extremely impressed” with Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka and owner Jeanie Buss. Hurley told ESPN the team had a “compelling case” for him to move to the NBA. The Lakers have been searching for a new coach since firing Darvin Ham on May 3 after two seasons.

Ultimately, Hurley decided to stay in Connecticut, where his teams have a 141-58 (.709) record in six seasons, including a 68-11 record the last two years. The Huskies became the first team since Florida in 2006 and 2007 to win consecutive men's basketball national titles and are looking to become the first team to win three in a row since John Wooden's UCLA teams won seven straight titles from 1967-1973.

U-Conn. loses four starters, including projected NBA draft lottery picks Donovan Clingan and Stephon Castle, but returns forward Alex Karaban, who withdrew his name from this month's draft. Hurley also signed another strong recruiting class, led by top-10 recruit Liam McNeeley, and brought in one of the best available players in the transfer portal in Saint Mary's star guard Aidan Mahaney.

Hurley signed a six-year, $32.1 million contract extension with Connecticut in June 2023. His decision to stay at the school comes two decades after the Lakers tried to bring Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski to the NBA in 2004, but failed after parting ways with Phil Jackson, who returned to the team the following year. Before turning down the Lakers, Hurley, the son of Hall of Fame high school coach Bob Hurley and brother of former Duke star Bobby Hurley, declined interest in the Kentucky job that became vacant after John Calipari's departure.

“The last thing on my mind is going somewhere else,” said Hurley, who coached at Wagner and Rhode Island before U-Conn. hired him in 2018 after the Huskies beat Purdue in April to win their second straight title. “We're in a position right now to keep winning title after title in an era where that's hard to do. When I look in the locker room now, I think about the chance to do it three times, like a dynasty in the modern era. That's what I think about.”

Meanwhile, the Lakers' coaching search continues while 39-year-old forward LeBron James' future with the team remains uncertain. James, who can become an unrestricted free agent in the summer, had praised U-Conn.'s “super-creative” offense in an April podcast. The Lakers also interviewed former NBA players JJ Redick and Sam Cassell, as well as former Charlotte Hornets coach James Borrego, after their first-round playoff loss.

Anna Harden

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