Danny Hurley hired at Wagner

Updated: April 6, 2010, 9:32 AM ET
By Christopher Lawlor | ESPN.com

Dan Hurley has made the rare jump from the high school ranks to a Division I head coaching position.

Hurley, who transformed St. Benedicts Prep of Newark, N.J., into a national powerhouse, was named coach at Wagner College.

Hurley will be introduced at a Wednesday news conference.

"Dan has been a winner at every level that he has played or coached, and is someone who has thrived at schools that have excellent academic reputations," Wagner athletic director Walt Hameline said in a statement.

Hurley, 37, inherits a program that went 5-26 in the final season under veteran coach Mike Deane but returns several experienced players to the Staten Island school, a member of the Northeast Conference.

He is considering hiring Bobby Hurley, his brother, as an assistant. Bobby was a star guard who helped lead Duke to NCAA championships in 1991 and 1992. He is now involved in thoroughbred racing in Hollywood, Fla.

"I'm not sure yet, I've been talking to a bunch of people," Dan Hurley said. "I'll try to put together a great staff that's going to be hardworking and do an excellent job on the court and caring about the kids."

Hurley previously was an assistant at Rutgers before landing at St. Benedicts, where he went 223-21 in nine seasons.

During his tenure he coached J.R. Smith, who successfully jumped to the NBA after being the first-round pick of the New Orleans Hornets in 2004.

Other notables include Corey Stokes (Villanova), Lance Thomas (Duke) and Eugene Harvey (Seton Hall). This year the Gray Bees went 20-1 and will send at least five players to Division I schools, led by Aaron Brown (Temple) and Gil Biruta (Rutgers). Juniors Sidiki Johnson and Myck Kabongo will sign in November with Arizona and Texas.

"I'll try to run the college version of what we did at St. Benedict's," Hurley said. "Preparing kids academically, athletically and socially to be successful."

This is not the first time Hurley was hired as a college head coach. Two years ago, he accepted the position at Marist only to later turn it down.

Others considered for the Seahawks vacancy were Vanderbilt assistant coach King Rice and and Texas A&M associate head coach Scott Spinelli.

Hurley's hiring at Wagner completes a big weekend in New Jersey's first family of basketball.

On Friday it was announced Dan's father, Bob Hurley Sr., was elected to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

The elder Hurley, the legendary high school coach at St. Anthony in Jersey City, is closing in on 1,000 career wins with 23 state titles.

Christopher Lawlor covers high school sports for ESPN.com. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

Christopher Lawlor

High School Basketball
Christopher Lawlor has covered high school sports for more than 20 years, most recently with USA TODAY, where he was the head preps writer responsible for national high school rankings in football, baseball and boys and girls basketball. He also ran the Gatorade national player of the year program for nine years.