With their young talent, Rhode Island was expected to be a team capable of giving teams trouble in the Atlantic 10 this season. Dan Hurley’s Rams exceeded those expectations, winning 13 conference games and finishing the season with a record of 23-10.
Those achievements made Hurley a popular figure on the coaching carousel, as was the case when he engineered a quick turnaround at Wagner before making the move to URI. Wednesday the school announced that its efforts to ensure that Hurley remain in Kingston have taken a significant step forward, as the two parties have come to an agreement on both a restructuring and extension of Hurley’s contract.
According to the release Hurley’s guaranteed compensation will reach $1 million per season by the 2017-18 campaign, and a year has been added to the deal which will now run through the completion of the 2021-22 season.
“We are excited about the direction and future of our basketball program,” URI athletic director Thorr Bjorn said in the release. “This year’s success is building pride on campus, with our alumni, and across the state. Coach Hurley has laid the foundation for success and now this funding will keep up the momentum going forward.”
Rhode Island was one of the nation’s youngest teams in 2014-15, and with just two members of their rotation (seniors T.J. Buchanan and Gilvydas Biruta) expected to move on the Rams can be an NCAA tournament team and Atlantic 10 title contender in 2015-16. Guard E.C. Matthews and forward Hassan Martin will both be juniors next season, and guard Jared Terrell will only be a sophomore.
Overall Rhode Island will return four of its top five scorers, and they’ll also add two transfers in guards Four McGlynn (eligible immediately) and Kuran Iverson (eligible after the first semester) with McGlynn supplying some much-needed perimeter shooting to a team that struggled in that area this season. Also of note are Rhode Island’s two incoming freshmen, with forward Leroy Butts and guard Christion Thompson both being expected to compete for minutes.