Why Rhode Island coach Dan Hurley passed on going to Rutgers

Rhode Island's Dan Hurley won't be heading to Rutgers. (USATSI)
Rhode Island coach Dan Hurley won’t be heading to Rutgers. (USATSI)

Rhode Island’s Dan Hurley has decided to pass on an opportunity to be Rutgers’ next men’s basketball coach, a source told CBS Sports on Wednesday.

The New Jersey native is staying at URI.

CBS Sports’ Jon Rothstein earlier reported this development.

Hurley just finished his fourth year at Rhode Island, where he has undeniably rebuilt the program. He only didn’t break through this season because of injuries to E.C. Matthews and Hassan Martin, both of whom were Preseason First Team Atlantic 10 selections. Matthews suffered a season-ending knee injury in the Rams’ opener. Martin missed the final four games of the season with a knee injury after missing two earlier games with an ankle injury.

Both Matthews and Martin are expected to return next season along with the Rams’ top two scorers from this season — namely Jared Terrell and Jarvis Garrett. Consequently, URI could be a preseason Top 25 team and the favorite to win the Atlantic 10. And that’s the main reason Hurley resisted Rutgers’ aggressive pursuit, a source told CBS Sports. Simply put, he thinks his team can be really good next season, and he doesn’t want to abandon it for what would be a third rebuilding job in seven years as a Division I head coach. But the approach first-year Rutgers athletic director Patrick Hobbs took, a source said, impressed Hurley to the point where he at least listened and weighed the pros and cons.

“Hobbs really impressed Dan,” a source said. “Hobbs did everything he could do.”

Hurley’s decision to remain at URI means Rutgers has missed on its top target, not to mention the only true home run hire available. Where the school turns next is unclear — although a source told CBS Sports George Washington’s Mike Lonergan and Stony Brook’s Steve Pikiell are on a short list of potential candidates.

Rutgers fired Eddie Jordan earlier this month.

The Scarlet Knights haven’t made the NCAA Tournament since 1991.

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