The legendary Hall of Fame coach of St. Anthony High School in Jersey City told The Associated Press in a telephone interview that he would consider taking over the tattered Rutgers basketball program as a caretaker for a year or two.
The 65-year-old Hurley told the interviewer Friday that his wife, Chris, and his daughter, Melissa, have encouraged him to take the job if approached, and he indicated he would do it on a short-term basis to stabilize the program that was rocked after a video was aired last week showing now fired coach Mike Rice kicking and grabbing players while uttering anti-gay slurs.
The scandal led to the resignation of athletic director Tim Pernetti, and despite the need for a full-time A.D., Rutgers has already begun looking for a new coach. Ironically, it was Hurley's son Danny who was the first candidate. The younger Hurley turned down Rutgers offer and signed a contract extension with Rhode Island until the 2019-20 season.
After Dan Hurley’s decision, a person who spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because the search is private, said that Rutgers has approached Eddie Jordan, an assistant coach with the Los Angeles Lakers who played at Rutgers from 1973-77, seeking a weekend interview. The Lakers on Friday were at home, preparing for a date with the Golden State Warriors. Jordan was not available for comment.
Bob Hurley, who was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2010, has never coached at the college level and is one of only 10 coaches in the Hall. The coach of 27 New Jersey state title teams said he is concerned for the Rutgers basketball players, a group that includes two of his former standouts at St. Anthony, Myles Mack and Eli Carter. He said they have been put under the spotlight and in an uncomfortable spot while the scandal runs its course.
“Something has to happen right now so they can get back to being student athletes,” Bob Hurley said. “This is a mess.”
Hurley considers mass defections by the players to be the program's most critical problem. He is concerned that the NCAA might consider concessions to players who want to transfer without sitting out a year.
One positive for St. Anthony's, if their beloved coach leaves, is that Hurley said he would donate some of the money earned from the Rutgers job to the cash-starved high school he has coached for four decades.