When the news broke that Bobby Hurley Jr. was going to be named the new head men’s basketball coach at UB I was pleasantly surprised. Then after thinking about it for a few minutes and the connections that existed between the various entities involved it made perfect sense.

UB’s 32 year old Athletic Director Danny White took a risk firing well-liked Reggie Witherspoon at the close of the season, but he promised a “name” successor. Danny White’s father is Kevin White and Kevin White is the Athletic Director at where else, but Duke University. Not only did Bobby Hurley Jr. make his fame at Duke, but his Hall of Fame Coach Mike Krzyzewski is still there working with Kevin White.

Duke AD Kevin White

Duke AD Kevin White

You can bet that Danny White made it known to his Dad that he was in the market for a new basketball coach before he broke the news to Witherspoon and Kevin White went to Krzyzewski to see who was out there. Bobby Hurley had been honing his skills as a coach under brother Dan Hurley at both Rhode Island and Wagner and was awaiting the right opportunity.

What I know about college athletics is that there is a deep network of coaches, athletic directors, administrators, trainers, etc, who constantly buzz about what opportunities are available. This type of backroom networking is not unusual in the business world, but I have found the collegiate underground railroad is a step above.

For Bobby Hurley taking the UB job is a good move. The Bulls are a mid-major on the rise with a young roster and whoever was the next coach was looking at a strong season in 2014. With the Hurley name and pedigree he will be able to recruit players that may have been out of Reggie Witherspoon’s reach. However, don’t go naming a campus dorm after Hurley just yet.

Bobby Hurley Jr. comes from a family that breathes, drinks and eats basketball. Bob Hurley Sr. is already in the basketball Hall of Fame for winning over 1,000 high school games and 26 New Jersey State Championships. Hurley prepared his sons for a career in the game and son Dan has already advanced from Wagner to Rhode Island of the Atlantic 10. Bobby Hurley Jr. will not be making UB his final stop on a coaching career ride like a Reggie Witherspoon. Bobby Hurley Jr. will work hard to make the Bulls successful and move on to the rewards that hard work will bring.

Danny White has already taken advantage of the long reach his family has in the world of NCAA athletics and UB has benefited from it. He will undoubtably use that same reach to secure a new “name” wrestling coach after not re-hiring Jim Beichner. Wrestling of course has a much lower profile, but White has already established that if he is going to replace coaches with WNY roots and over a decade of longevity he is going to replace them with rising stars. Danny White’s view of the heavens has plenty of help.

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