NCAA BK

Rhode Island hires Dan Hurley as coach

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Dan Hurley is the new men's basketball coach at Rhode Island.

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Hurley, 39, who spent two years at Wagner, agreed to a six-year deal to rebuild the struggling Atlantic 10 program. A press conference is scheduled for Wednesday at 1 p.m.

In his second season at Wagner, Hurley led the Seahawks, of the Northeast Conference, to a 25-6 record. The former star guard at Seton Hall - and son of Basketball Hall of Famer Bob Hurley - also coached nine seasons at St. Benedict's Prep in Newark, N.J.

The Rams went 7-24 this season.

''Dan is a proven winner at every level and I am looking forward to partnering with him to build on the solid foundation we have in place,'' Rhode Island athletic director Thorr Bjorn said. ''Our goals are to compete for - and win - Atlantic 10 championships and advance to play in NCAA tournaments.''

Hurley's hire comes at the right time for the Rams. The Atlantic 10 is moving its conference tournament next season to Brooklyn and the new arena for the NBA's Nets - a golden opportunity for A-10 schools to recruit in the New York-New Jersey area and market their programs.

''We are delighted that Dan shares our vision to build a high-quality program that puts the student-athlete first and competes at the highest level,'' Rhode Island president David Dooley said. ''And we are confident that he will be successful here.''

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Hurley replaces Jim Baron, who had two years remaining on his contract, but could only muster a 4-12 record in the Atlantic 10 this season. Baron, 57, coached the Rams since 2001, and made five NIT appearances. But he did not take the Rams to the NCAA. He was fired on March 4.

Hurley didn't take the Seahawks to the postseason, either, after losing in the NEC semifinals to Robert Morris, 71-64, at home. There was a thought Wagner might land in the NIT, but when the Seahawks weren't invited, they elected not to pursue the CBI.

A native of Jersey City, N.J., Hurley also was an assistant coach at Rutgers. While at St. Benedict's, he went 223-21, and coached four McDonald's All-Americans. The season before he arrived at Wagner, the Seahawks were 5-26.

''Dan is an incredible competitor,'' Bjorn said, ''who wants nothing more than to help young men grow and develop, on and off the court.''

He has work to do. The Rams lost six of their last eight games, and did not qualify for the Atlantic 10 tournament.

Only Fordham kept them from last place.

Tagged: Wagner, Rhode Island

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