Bobby Hurley is the right fit for DePaul

With Ben Howland, the perceived frontrunner at one time for the open DePaul men's basketball coach job, now taking his talents to Starkville, Mississippi, DePaul will now have to refocus their attention to someone else as they interview candidates for the job this weekend.

Considering that DePaul may have wanted a young, energetic go-getter anyway, this race will likely come down to one of the emerging mid-major coaches getting the job. A lot of the noise from the press and social media is that this job may come down to either Bryce Drew or Bobby Hurley.

(Disclaimer: I think Drew would be an excellent hire by the way, but for the purpose of this column, read on to see why I think Hurley is best).

WeAreDePaul.com is reporting that both Drew and Hurley will be interviewed in Chicago this weekend.

If DePaul wants a young, hungry coach, then this job should go to Hurley.

Sure, you can say he is an east-coast guy, doesn't have Chicago ties and doesn't have a ton of coaching experience. To that I say, so what? The guy is a winner. Period.

Everybody has to start somewhere and experience can be trumped by undying passion and love for the game. And Hurley has that in spades.

He has been a winner— while overcoming odds in the process— at almost every step in his life.

Hurley was a decorated winner while playing for his father, the legendary Bob Hurley Sr., at the prestigious St. Anthony's program in New Jersey. After his high school career ended, he wound up at the perfect place for him at Duke. While under the stewardship of Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski, Hurley went on to play in three final fours (winning two titles in the process). Oddly enough, his last college basketball game was played at Allstate Arena (then the Rosemont Horizon) when his Duke team lost to Jason Kidd and California. So, maybe Hurley returns to the scene of the crime and leaves the finishing touch he always intended to go out of that arena with. He can rewrite history at Allstate prior to DePaul moving its game to the new state-of-the-art arena near McCormick Place.

After his college career, Hurley was drafted by the Sacramento Kings and played six seasons in the NBA after retiring after a brief stint with the Vancouver Grizzlies in 1998. Hurley's NBA career was cut short in part to a car accident, that left him shook up. Still, he knows what it takes to get to the NBA and that can resonate with young players.

One of those young players could be arguably DePaul's best player, Billy Garrett Jr. From one competitive point guard to another, they could get the best of each other. Neither was blessed with great athleticism, but both have the smarts and courage that would make them simpatico.

After Hurley's playing days were over and after a foray into the horse-racing business, Hurley had an itch to get back into coaching and agreed to be an assistant for his brother Danny at Wagner and then later for him at Rhode Island.

Then in 2013, Hurley agreed to become the head coach at Buffalo while trying to make a name for himself. Two years later, he has gone 42-20 overall and got his Bulls to the NCAA Tournament in just his second year on the job.

So, we have seen Hurley go to work quickly, yet passionately. And that combination is what DePaul needs.

With DePaul desperately in need of an energetic go-getter who is ready to roll up his sleeves and tackle this undertaking, Hurley (as Drew would also be) is the right guy at the right time. After the failure of trying to have a steady influence in veterans of the game in Jerry Wainwright and Oliver Purnell at the helm, DePaul needs to reverse course and does not need any retreads.

DePaul needs a guy who will eat, sleep and drink basketball. DePaul needs the next coach to embrace the challenge, change culture and not take no for an answer while on the recruiting trail.

Hurley will ultimately create buzz and get people talking based on his national profile. Imagine the stories around the Chicago area with the Duke-bred coaches with Hurley at DePaul, Chris Collins at Northwestern and Steve Wojciechowski at Marquette all playing and competing against one another. Not to mention, his brother Danny Hurley is in play for the now-open St. John's job. How about the two of them in the Big East going up against each other? The press would eat that up.

DePaul needs to build some buzz and momentum in advance of christening their new arena at McCormick Place and a guy who can sell, charm, recruit and coach DePaul into that new era. Based on the pedigree and passion Hurley has, he is the perfect fit for the job.


We Are DePaul Top Stories