Danny Hurley Stays At UConn

Word came yesterday afternoon that Danny Hurley did not want to leave UConn to coach the LA Lakers and he rejected a contract offer that would have more than doubled the $32M he will be getting from UConn in his present deal.  I am not nearly qualified to say why he made the decision that he did but I will take note of the fact that nothing in Danny Hurley’s background screams LOS ANGELES or HOLLYWOOD.

  • He was born and raised in Jersey City, NJ which is about as like LA as day is to night.
  • He played college basketball at Seton Hall – – in South Orange, NJ.
  • He coached at Wagner College – – in Staten Island, NY
  • He coached at the University of Rhode Island – – in Kingston, RI
  • He coaches at UConn – – in Storrs, CT.

Danny Hurley is 51 years old; his life experiences have centered on the East Coast in areas lacking in glitz and glamor.  I am not shocked that he chose to stay in his comfort zone for $32M instead of striking out of that comfort zone to collect $70M.  It’s not as if his current $32M deal is going to see him and his family wondering where their next meal is coming from.

And it is not as if he is the first college coach of a national championship team to be courted by an NBA team.  I can recall Mike Krzyzewski turning down at least one such offer and there is a story – – perhaps apocryphal – – that says Red Auerbach approached Bob Knight after Knight’s Hoosiers won the NCAA Championship going undefeated in 1976.  Supposedly, Auerbach asked Knight if he would be interested in coaching the Celtics; Knight’s response:

  • Only if you guarantee that I will make more than the highest paid player on the team.

If the exchange really went along with that script, I suspect the conversation ended abruptly right about there…

As you might imagine the AD at UConn was happy to hear about Hurley’s decision; here is part of his reaction to the news:

“We are thrilled that Dan Hurley has made the decision to stay at UConn and continue building upon our championship tradition.  He has helped return our men’s basketball program back to the pinnacle of the sport, including back-to-back NCAA Championships, and we’re grateful for his loyalty to UConn … He will continue to bring great pride to Husky fans everywhere as we work toward a three-peat.”

So, fans and administrators at UConn got good news yesterday …  However, elsewhere in the basketball world, things are not going in a euphoric dimension for a former NBA player whose life has tumbled into a condition as bad as a dumpster fire.  Back in 2004, Delonte West and Jameer Nelson led the St. Joseph’s Hawks to the NCAA Regional Finals ending the season with a record of 30-2.  Both Nelson and West were drafted into the NBA; Nelson had a successful career; West’s life spun out of control.  West bounced around the NBA playing for 4 teams – – twice with the Celtics.  He also played for a time in the G League and in China.  He has been arrested on myriad drug charges and on a “weapons violation” about 15 years ago.  Last week, he was arrested in Fairfax County, Virginia for violating parole regulations stemming from prior run-ins with the law and for resisting arrest.  He has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder – – which in concert with drug abuse incidents has turned him into a caricature of his former athletic self.  In that recent arrest activity, police officers administered Narcan at the arrest site as an “antidote” for an opioid overdose and when that did not relieve the drug situation, the officers took West to a hospital for a subsequent Narcan dosage that kept him alive.

Lots of athletes have succumbed to drug addictions but many others are not tragic figures that evoke caring emotions in people close to them.  West does.  His former teammates and coaches have repeatedly rallied to try to help him stabilize his life – – to little avail unless you consider that West is still alive, not having been found face down in a ditch somewhere with no vital signs.

  • Sic transit gloria mundi …

Switching gears – – or at least sports …  Another athlete has had an unusual run-in with the law recently.  Xavian Howard had been a quality CB for the Dolphins but was still unsigned as teams began their OTAs last week.  Howard is now being sued by two different people for “circulating photos and videos of himself and other women having sex to humiliate them and cause emotional distress.”  I know, you are thinking that is gauche and low-rent to be sure, but the kicker that takes this one over the top is that the lawsuits allege that he sent those “films” to a minor.  I believe that is the point where the slot machine shouts “JACKPOT!

Here is a link to the story at CBSSports.com about this whole matter.  Obviously, there are still tons of details to be fleshed out here, but I feel confident in making this assessment at this moment in time:

  • If Xavian Howard had been having difficulty finding a team in the NFL who wanted him at a price that he was willing to accept before this became public, his quest for a new NFL home just got orders of magnitude more difficult.

Finally, let me close today with some pertinent words from Will Rogers:

“If America ever passes out as a great nation, we ought to put on our tombstone: America died from a delusion she had Moral Leadership.”

But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………

 

 

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