Dan Hurley, UConn Agree to 6-Year Contract; Rejects URI, Pitt Offers

Kyle Newport@@KyleNewportFeatured ColumnistMarch 22, 2018

PITTSBURGH, PA - MARCH 17:  Head coach Dan Hurley of the Rhode Island Rams reacts against the Duke Blue Devils during the first half in the second round of the 2018 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at PPG PAINTS Arena on March 17, 2018 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Rob Carr/Getty Images

After leading the Rhode Island Rams to the second round of the 2018 NCAA tournament, Dan Hurley has accepted the head coaching job at Connecticut, the university announced Thursday morning.

Hurley's deal is for six years and $2.75 million annually, announced UConn in a press release, via Adam Zagoria of SportsNet New York.

"I never doubted for a moment that UConn would be able to attract a coach of Dan's talent," said UConn President Susan Herbst. "He understands UConn, student-athletes at this level, and college basketball in the Northeast. I know our entire community will be delighted to welcome Dan, Andrea and their family to UConn."

ESPN.com's Jeff Goodman reported he chose the Huskies over a "more lucrative offer" from Pittsburgh and a long-term extension from Rhode Island.

In 2017-18, he led URI to a 26-8 record and the Atlantic 10 regular-season title. It marked the second consecutive season in which the Rams won a game in the NCAA tournament.

They upset Creighton 84-72 as a No. 11 seed in 2017 and, as a No. 7 seed this year, defeated the Trae Young-led Oklahoma Sooners 83-78.

Hurley was 113-82 in six seasons with the Rams.

It was just four years ago when UConn looked like it had the next big thing in the coaching world as Kevin Ollie led the program to a national championship in his second season in Storrs. 

Ollie led the team to just one other NCAA tournament appearance since then, though, when the Huskies were the No. 9 seed at 25-11 in 2016. Otherwise, the program has been in a decline and went just 14-18 this year, its worst season in more than three decades.

Per Dom Amore of the Hartford Courant, UConn announced that it was "initiating disciplinary procedure to terminate" Ollie for "just cause" in early March.

That meant UConn would not have to pay Ollie the $10 million remaining on his contract.

The "just cause" reportedly stems from an NCAA inquiry into the program regarding alleged improper summer workouts during Ollie's tenure.

Ollie said he would fight UConn's decision in a statement to ESPN.

Hurley will face an incredible increase in pressure moving from Rhode Island to UConn. As a mid-major program, the Rams were never expected to be serious Final Four contenders. The Huskies, on the other hand, have won four national titles since 1999.

Rhode Island made quite the improvement under Hurley, from 8-21 in his first season to NCAA tournament wins in back-to-back seasons. UConn is hoping he can turn its program back around as well.