When the University of Rhode Island announced that head coach Jim Baron was being relieved of his duties, many were of the belief that athletic director Thomas Bjorn would have a very difficult time finding a coach comparable to Baron.
It may be time to go ahead and strike that theory down.
According to GoLocalProv.com, URI will hire Wagner head coach Dan Hurley as its new head coach. Hurley’s had just two years of Division I head coaching experience but they’ve been very good, posting a 38-23 record at the Staten Island school.
Multiple national outlets have refuted this report however, saying that this is not a done deal so stay tuned.
This season Hurley led Wagner to a 25-6 record, falling to Robert Morris in the NEC tournament semifinals. How a team can go 25-6 and not be invited to any postseason tournament is a question for another time, but one has to wonder if that had an impact on the decision.
Before taking over for Mike Deane at Wagner Hurley led a highly successful program at St. Benedict’s Prep in Newark, New Jersey, coaching the likes of J.R. Smith and Scott Machado.
Hurley’s father Bob Sr. leads St. Anthony and is a member of the Basketball Hall of Fame, and older brother Bobby (one of the greatest point guards in college history at Duke) is an assistant on Dan’s staff at Wagner.
URI had issues with discipline as multiple players were suspended throughout the season and leading scorer Jamal Wilson was dismissed from the team in December.
But outside of Orion Outerbridge the Rams are due to have everyone back from this season’s 7-24 team, and that includes one of the best freshmen in the Atlantic 10 in Jonathan Holton.
What players such as Holton and Billy Baron decide to do remains to be seen, but Hurley showed at Wagner his ability to turn things around quickly. This would be a very good hire by Rhode Island.