Just watching a Dan Hurley workout is exhausting. He’s constantly on the move, gesticulating, goading, galvanizing his players. He doesn’t wear a whistle. He wants the players to keep moving, switching seamlessly from one drill to another, heeding instructions on the fly, making the most of every NCAA-allowed minute.
These hour-long summer workouts are intense and highly competitive. There are winners and losers. Scores are kept and posted in the gym, the locker room, and the weight room for all to see. Hurley seems to notice every detail of every individual, and not just their basketball skills. He’s observing pace, effort, and demeanor as well, and has even called out a couple of guys for being poker-faced. If you’re on Coach Hurley’s team, you need to show your passion.
While he’s intent on preparing his current players for the upcoming season, Hurley also has an eye to the recruits who come to Storrs and watch a workout, knowing it will appeal only to those who are ready for that level of intensity. “If you’re a competitive player,” he says, “you’ll love this kind of environment.”
Embracing the Hurley way is the one condition he laid out when, little more than 24 hours after he decided to accept the position of head coach at UConn, Hurley met – alone – with his new team in the locker room at the Werth Family UConn Basketball Champions Center.
The players were demoralized from a second losing season and uncertain about their future. Addressing the 10 eligible to return, he told them things were going to be different, but they would have to allow him to coach and that would mean being hard on them.
Minutes later, beneath the championship banners on the practice court, Hurley was formally introduced to UConn Nation as the Huskies’ new coach. The future of …