Dan Hurley's decision to remain the coach of the UConn Huskies men's basketball team has nothing to do with the Los Angeles Lakers.

Admittedly, it may seem like it would. After all, Dan Hurley did turn down a contract offer from the Lakers that was worth a reported $70 million over six years in order to remain in Storrs, Connecticut for half as much money — and yes, I'm aware the Lakers may have lowballed Hurley, but $70 million isn't exactly chump change. But I guarantee you, if you injected Dan Hurley with a dose of truth serum, this decision had very little to do with the money, living on the east coast versus the west coast, coaching LeBron James and Anthony Davis, or what it means to be the head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers. It had to do with everything that is now in play for him as he continues his coaching journey at the University of Connecticut.

What's in play is the quest for immortality, and that encompasses a whole lot which I'll attempt to sift through over the course of the next thousand or so words here. I'm sure that whenever Dan Hurley finally speaks publicly on his decision, he'll allude to some of the things I bring up here, and that's because this decision, as complex as it may have seemed, was actually pretty simple: the quest for immortality trumps everything else you can hope to accomplish in sports. At the end of the day it's more important than money, it's more important than longevity, it's far more important than fame. And no other place on earth offers Dan Hurley this unique opportunity than Storrs.

Now you might think that the chance to coach the 17-time NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers would present Dan Hurley with that very opportunity. All of the folks in Lexington believed the same thing when Kentucky was rumored to have interest in poaching Dan Hurley away from UConn. But there's a distinction here that everyone seems to be missing. The Kentucky Wildcats and the Los Angeles Lakers both offered Dan Hurley a bunch of money and a fantastic opportunity at greatness. But greatness is not the same as immortality. 

Greatness is LeBron James winning a combined three NBA Titles with the Miami Heat and Los Angeles Lakers. Immortality is winning one NBA Title with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Greatness is the Boston Red Sox winning the World Series in 2007, 2013 and 2018. Immortality is overcoming a 0-3 deficit to the New York Yankees in the ALCS, and then winning the World Series in 2004.

Greatness is a 22-year-old Cassius Clay defeating an aging Sonny Liston to become Heavyweight Champion. Immortality is 34-year-old Muhammad Ali defeating an in-his-prime George Foreman to become Heavyweight Champion again.

See the difference? There is a difference here, and I'd bet every last dollar in my bank account that it's something Dan Hurley thought a whole lot about over the weekend as he weighed his decision.

Connecticut Huskies head coach Dan Hurley speaks at a press conference during practice before the 2024 Final Four of the NCAA Tournament at State Farm Stadium on Friday, April 5, 2024.
© Michael Chow/The Republic / USA TODAY NETWORK

Dan Hurley and the Quest for Basketball Immortality 

Now here's the really interesting thing about Dan Hurley's decision: he doesn't need to wait long to begin this quest. In fact, when the UConn basketball team began practice today shortly after their head coach made his decision to stay with the school, it was on. As the 2024-25 Huskies prepare for their season to begin, they'll be doing so with a little bit of extra weight on their shoulders, because a 2025 National Championship wouldn't just be the seventh for the school since 1999 and the third for Dan Hurley… it would be the third straight for Dan Hurley, which puts him in a conversation that only includes legendary — excuse me, immortal — college basketball coach John Wooden.

Winning three National Championships in a row is really freaking hard to do, and if you need proof of that, then the fact that John Wooden's storied UCLA teams are the only ones who have ever accomplished this feat should do. And let's just be clear: this is something that shouldn't be possible in today's era of college basketball.

When Duke came close in the early-90s, and even when the Florida Gators won two in a row in the mid-00s, it was a far more reasonable outcome than it is now. Between one-and-done's, the transfer portal, and NIL, it's harder than it ever has been to keep a group together that can compete one year after the next. But for Dan Hurley and the UConn Huskies, it has never been about keeping the group together. It's been about reloading, retooling, and re-imagining just how dominant they could be from one year to the next.

Sure, UConn will be losing four starters from last year's dominant championship team, but this is not an unfamiliar position for the Huskies to find themselves in. After rolling through the 2023 NCAA Tournament and capturing the fifth National Title in program history, the Huskies lost three starters — Andre Jackson Jr., Jordan Hawkins and Adama Sanogo — and began the following season ranked 6th in the preseason poll. In short time, the Huskies proved that this preseason ranking was a complete sham. UConn closed the season with 13 consecutive wins, 11 of which were by double-digits, including all six of their victories in the NCAA Tournament. In total, they went 37-3 and will go down as one of the greatest teams in modern college basketball history.

But the 2024-25 Huskies… this group has a chance, like Dan Hurley, at immortality. It doesn't matter that Aidan Mahaney, Liam McNeeley, Tarris Reed, Ahmad Nowell, and a handful of other newcomers to the program haven't been there the past two years. All that matters is that if this group cuts down the nets in San Antonio on April 7th, they'll forever be etched in sports history as one of the defining teams in college hoops history.

(Did I mention that Dan Hurley said he thought this could his most talented group yet, and that was before Alex Karaban announced he'd be coming back for his Junior season?)

And what happens then? What happens if UConn does what no other program in fifty years has done, and completes the three-peat? At that point, how many names could you still put in front of Dan Hurley on the list of the most successful college coaches ever? Sure, he's only been at UConn since 2018, and even if the Huskies run the table — now I might be getting a little ahead of myself — he'd still be well over 400 wins shy of Jim Calhoun's total at UConn, but a third straight National Title would bump Coach Calhoun and way more iconic coaches than you might realize down that list.

Dan Hurley tried to warn everyone. This hot-headed, competitive psychopath sat at the podium back in January 2020 and calmly told everyone that a reckoning was coming. He wasn't lying. The Connecticut Huskies have have since brought the college basketball world to its knees, and for all we know, it's only the beginning.