Dan Hurley's UConn Huskies are headed to the Final Four, and they enter as the favorite to win the whole thing.
However, it was not always easy for Dan Hurley, the son of legendary high school basketball coach Bob Hurley Sr., and brother of Duke basketball legend Bobby Hurley. The bar was set so high, and it got to be too much while Dan Hurley was in college playing for the Seton Hall basketball program. He took a leave from the program for a year in 1993. He was drinking too much, partying too much, and chasing coping mechanisms. He eventually told Seton Hall basketball beat writers that he hated basketball, according to Brendan Quinn of The Athletic.
“I wanted nothing to do with it,” Dan Hurley said, via Quinn. “When I took the leave, I wasn't sure if I'd ever play again. I locked myself in my dorm room for like two days. No one could get at me, no one could find me. F***, man, I didn't want to play. I didn't even want to watch it.”
Dan Hurley said that he did not have many people to open up to in a time of need. He did that when he told the beat writers that he was in a bad place.
“When you're from Jersey City, and your dad is tough as nails, and your brother is tough as nails, and everyone in your neighborhood is tough as nails – for me, I needed to show some vulnerability,” Dan Hurley said, via Quinn. “I didn't have a lot of people I could open up to. I felt like I needed to tell people I was hurting, that I was in a bad way.”
Dan Hurley eventually found coaching. He went from coaching high school at Saint Benedict's Prep, to the college ranks with Wagner, to the University of Rhode Island to build that program, and finally to the University of Connecticut to resurrect the Huskies to former glory. Now, he has the UConn Huskies two wins away from their fifth National Championship in program history.