Niagara Gazette


March 26, 2013

PARRINO: Hurley elevates UB hoops


Niagara Gazette —

He'll immediately command players' respect and, while he's only been coaching for three seasons, he's had a ton of success as an assistant under his brother Dan Hurley at Wagner College. This past season, Hurley joined his brother at Rhode Island and was in the process of helping the Rams turn things around. RIU only won eight games last season but with two transfers and a full recruiting class, many believe the team will be very good in coming seasons.

Twitter did what it usually does when something unexpected happens: produce some interesting reaction. Some are already dubbing Hurley, who comes from a basketball family (his father, Bob Hurley Sr., is a legendary high school coach in New Jersey), the successor to iconic Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski.

It's too early to anoint Hurley, who has never coached a game, the heir to the Blue Devil thrown. He's taking over a program that plays in the underrated and highly competitive Mid-American Conference, which has proved to be an annual gauntlet the Bulls have yet to conquer.

But I like the Duke connection. Krzyzewski is one of the greatest coaches in the game's history and Hurley ran his system for four years. Even if UB is just a stepping stone for Hurley, White made a historic impact with this hire, and redeemed himself for a decision that I still believe to be a bit hasty.

Witherspoon guided UB to its most successful four-year run in program history from 2008-2012, coached the MAC Player of the Year (Mitchell Watt) last season and, not only had the leading candidate for next season's MAC POY (Javon McCrea), but many experts predicted that UB would begin the 2013-14 season as the MAC front runner.

There is no rewind button in life, however, and White made the decision back in December to move in a different direction, despite waiting until the day after the Bulls' season ended to terminate Witherspoon.

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