ASU Basketball: Devils Hire Hurley as New Coach


Friday in Tempe, ASU President Michael Crow and Athletic Director Ray Anderson introduced Bobby Hurley as the new men’s basketball coach for the Sun Devils.

In all honesty, Devils in Detail did not see this coming.  Sure, Hurley (43) was mentioned in the search to replace former coach Herb Sendek.  But quickly into the discussion, Hurley signed a new 6-year contract with the University of Buffalo, a program that he took to new heights in just two seasons.  On top of that, it was assumed that Hurley was strictly an East coast guy.  He grew up and played ball in New Jersey before going to Duke.  His wife and family are all East Coast people.  When Chris Mullin was offered the St. John’s job and Hurley signed the new deal, it looked like Hurley was off the market.

What nobody knew was that the contract extension, actually the whole renegotiation process was ugly.

Apparently, Hurley was required to do the negotiations himself because his Athletic Director told him that he “doesn’t deal with agents”.  Hurley, who admitted that he was uncomfortable dealing with money issues and contracts was rubbed the wrong way by that, but he was also irked that his request to get a raise for his assistant coaches was denied.  The entire process left Hurley feeling alienated.

In any event, Bobby Hurley is here in Tempe, ready to start a new chapter for himself and for ASU Basketball.  There is no doubt that Hurley’s pedigree is impressive.  His exploits as a player give him instant credibility.  He has two NCAA rings and is still the all-time leader in college for assists.  He was drafted #7 in the 1993 NBA draft and had a decent future in front of him as a player.  A vicious car accident in his rookie season in Sacramento essentially ended that future.

As a coach, some might say that Hurley is untested.  Four years as an assistant and two years as a head coach in the MAC conference may not look too surly for a PAC-12 head coach.  Devils in Detail believes this stance might be a little misguided.  If a guy can coach, he can coach.  It doesn’t matter where he did it.  The only concern that may be justified is Hurley’s recruiting ties out West, or rather his lack of recruiting ties.  While it’s true that Hurley probably doesn’t have many contacts or much experience in Arizona or California, his name and reputation will create new ties and get him into homes and high school offices.

And if his reputation as a blue-collar, hard-working underdog is true, Hurley will work tirelessly to build relationships essential to recruiting.  All in all, his name and accomplishments should generate some excitement around Tempe.  The national media is interested in Hurley.  Top-notch high school recruits will listen to him.  And his energy and passion for basketball should translate into success on the court.

It is interesting that ASU went this direction for its new coach.  This hiring is similar to the hiring of football coach Todd Graham.  At the time, Graham was only a head coach for four seasons.  His name was not very well-known to the national media.  While Hurley’s name is known as a player, he wasn’t known for his coaching acumen until this March.

Unlike the last three basketball coaches at ASU, (Bill Frieder, Rob Evans and Herb Sendek) who were all well-established head coaches,  (in fact, all three were chosen Coach of the Year in their respective conferences) Hurley is given the task of proving to everyone that he belongs here.

That could be just the fuel that Hurley needs.  All he’s heard since his hiring is that ASU is a basketball wasteland, a sleeping Giant that never wakes up, etc.   For a guy with a perpetual chip on his shoulder, it seems fitting that Hurley is here in Tempe.  Hopefully, he’ll achieve the success that many believe he is capable of.