UConn's Dan Hurley recalls growing up surrounded by basketball royalty: 'It was tough'

UConn’s Dan Hurley recalls growing up surrounded by basketball royalty: ‘It was tough’

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Dan Hurley has lived up to the Hurley family name, but coming from basketball royalty had its challenges. 

Hurley, like his older brother Bobby Hurley, won back-to-back national championships. Dan won his titles with the UConn Huskies, including last week’s 75-60 win over the Purdue Boilermakers. 

Bobby’s success came in college as a player at Duke, winning back-to-back titles in 1991 and 1992. After several years in the NBA, he turned to coaching. 

Duke Bobby Hurley in action

Duke’s Bobby Hurley (11) in action against Kentucky at the Spectrum in Philadelphia March 26, 1992. (John Biever/Sports Illustrated via Getty Images)

Both sons followed in the footsteps of their Hall of Fame father, Bob Hurley, who won 26 state championships as head coach at St. Anthony High School in Jersey City.


Surrounded by success, Dan Hurley sometimes struggled with the pressure. 

“It was tough. I can’t imagine doing it today with social media,” Hurley said during an interview with OutKick’s “Don’t @ Me with Dan Dakich.

“Back then, you had to wait for the newspaper the next day to read about how bad you were in relation to what Bob was accomplishing. Thankfully, for me, Bob was my best friend and was always my biggest supporter and always tried to lift me up and build my confidence up. We always had that type of relationship.

Bob Hurley Sr. talks to team

Bob Hurley Sr. talks to one of his players at St. Anthony during a game against Catholic Memorial at Newton North High School Dec. 29, 2010.  (MediaNews Group/Boston Herald via Getty Images)


“To be in a household where you made the same exact commitment, you had the same coach, you had the same upbringing, you made the same exact sacrifices, and then you get nowhere near the rewards. At that time, it sucked to go through and was tough.” 

Hurley had a standout career at St. Anthony, but his struggles began at Seton Hall. 

“Fans in the northeast — New York, New Jersey — and the media. When you’re not measuring up, they’re tough on you. You hear it. For me, there was a big element of self sabotage there too, where I kind of wanted to have that crutch.


“I drank a lot. I partied a lot. I wasn’t in the gym as much as I should’ve been or needed to. It’s almost like I didn’t want to see if I was good enough. It’s almost like I wanted to have some type of an excuse if I didn’t get to the level that Bob got to or a level of greatness.

“Then, I could look back at it and say, ‘Yeah, you know what? I drank too much, I partied too much.’ But I do think, in a weird way, it’s benefited my coaching career because, as much as I let myself down as a player in not committing that way, I’ve way overpoured into this part of my basketball career.”

Dan Hurley celebrates

Head coach Dan Hurley of the Connecticut Huskies during the trophy ceremony after the Big East Tournament final against the Marquette Golden Eagles at Madison Square Garden March 16, 2024, in New York City. (Sarah Stier/Getty Images)

Hurley, an advocate for mental health awareness, now turns to his faith and other resources to keep him grounded. 

​​”My spirituality as a Christian and my faith in God and also my understanding that there are things that you need to talk to a therapist about — a counselor, a psychologist, a psychiatrist — things that maybe you’re not comfortable talking to your friends or your wife or your brother or your parents that are things that maybe eat away at you or things that happened in your childhood or in your adult life that you need a third party that you trust.”

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