Pitt might just be the favorite to land highly sought after Rhode Island coach Dan Hurley, according to a report by Peter Thamel of Yahoo! Sports.
Hurley, whose Rams are the No. 7 seed in the East Region of the NCAA Tournament and will play in Pittsburgh on Thursday afternoon, is widely considered to the best coaching candidate currently at a mid-major school.
Thamel called Hurley underrated and while acknowledging that the also-open Connecticut job could be a stumbling block, said “look for Pitt to be the favorite.”
He also said that if both jobs remain open when Hurley’s Rams take on Oklahoma at PPG Paints Arena on Thursday afternoon, there will be a “trail of speculation” following Hurley.
Hurley, 45, is the younger brother of Arizona State head coach Bobby Hurley and son of legendary New Jersey high school coach Bob Hurley. Rhode Island is in the NCAA Tournament for the second consecutive year. Hurley has been with the Rams since 2012 and has a 111-80 record there. Before going to Rhode Island, he was a head coach at Wagner and for nine years at St. Benedict’s Prep in New Jersey.
He’ll bring deep Northeastern ties to whichever job he lands, something that may or may not be an advantage to the Panthers, who have seen their New York recruiting ties dry up since moving to the ACC in 2013.
The Pitt job has been open since Thursday, when athletic director Heather Lyke announced the firing of second-year head coach Kevin Stallings. The circumstances surrounding his firing, including the payment of his $9.4 million buyout, have not yet been resolved. Lyke has not commented publicly on the matter outside of a one-paragraph press release.