Dan Hurley Beefed With Zach Edey, Shoved His Own Player & Completed A Coaching Masterclass As UConn Repeated With Ease

DAn Hurley

UConn head coach Dan Hurley just led the Huskies to back-to-back national championships, screamed at the refs constantly, let National Player of the Year Zach Edey light up his defense, lit up Glendale’s State Farm Arena with his singular antics, and made it all look as easy as could be.

That lede is a lot, I know. But trying to summarize what Hurley accomplished in one snapshot is impossible. The man contains multitudes, more so than most of us.

This is a relentless, heart-on-his-sleeve force of nature who knows he’s the best, knows his team is the best, and knows he can make any sort of adjustments to break the will of his opponents.

Purdue kept it kind of close for a half like Alabama did to UConn in the previous Final Four contest. In the end, the outcome was never in doubt.

To allow Edey to erupt for 37 points and 10 rebounds, and still win 75-60 running away? That’s nothing short of tactical brilliance and elite-level execution.

And oh by the way, Hurley was entertaining as f*ck while pulling all this off. First came his personal tiff with Edey, as the two got in each other’s faces a bit during a stoppage in the action.

Dropping F-bombs is just kind of standard operating procedure for Hurley. Turn off the tube if you want to keep things PG. Most of us who stayed up at such a godforsaken hour to watch this national championship are probably fine with Hurley keeping us awake with his indefatigable competitive spirit.

Some of the reactions to these little subplots and underappreciated interstitial moments from the greatness that was unfolding on the hardwood had me going.

But the most memorable moment of the night was when he went out onto the court of play, while the ball was live, to shove his senior guard Cam Spencer, imploring him to run the set play.

…Then look how amped they are by the end! Gotta love it.

Spencer had 11 points. He was one of four Huskies in double figures, led by Tristen Newton’s 20. Stephon Castle added 15 points, and sophomore center Donovan Clingan had 11 to match Spencer. Quite funny in retrospect that I thought the big man battle between Edey and Clingan was going to be critical to the outcome of Monday’s game. Clingan and the UConn defense basically made sure no other Boilermaker did much of anything.

A somewhat nondescript interview with Tracy Wolfson — eventful as those can tend to be — preceded Hurley getting fired up about UConn’s sixth national title and a bold claim that they’ve been running the sport for the past three decades.

I mean, when you take a very zoomed-out, macro view of the men’s college hoops landscape, you can’t really say Hurley is wrong.

Unlike Geno Auriemma’s UConn women’s teams who’ve dominated for almost a quarter century in their own right, Hurley faces major competition when it comes to recruiting. There’s NIL money flying around all over the place, rampant movement in the transfer portal, and, of course, inevitable losses of star players to the NBA and/or graduation.

Take all that into account, along with the following snapshot, and you can understand what I mean by referring to Hurley’s job this season as a coaching masterclass.

Simply outstanding. The game itself was a bit anticlimactic since UConn suffocated Purdue, letting them only attempt seven 3-pointers. They hit just one. We’re talking about a team that shot over 40% from downtown throughout the season. Undeniable greatness right there.

Dan Hurley is a hell of a model American, a damn good basketball coach, and before he’s finished, he should go down as one of the very best to ever do it. And he’s impossible not to like, at least for me. Then again, Hurley and I are both Bengals fans.

Screw it. One more time for posterity’s sake. You know what’s coming.

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock