Skip to main content

Dan Hurley: 'I've coached my teams harder' since NIL started

NS_headshot_clearbackgroundby:Nick Schultz04/06/24


It’s been nearly 20 years since a men’s college basketball team has repeated as national champion. Starting with Friday’s Final Four game against Alabama, Dan Hurley and UConn will look to end that drought after a dominant start to the NCAA Tournament.

Hurley is known for trying to get the best out of his players, and his hard coaching style appears to be working. Last season, UConn won its first national championship since 2014, and the Huskies bring a 35-3 record into Friday’s national semifinal hoping to do it again.

But with the arrival of NIL in 2021, Hurley took things up a notch. He’s still a tough-love type of coach, but he’s pushing his players that much harder now that they can capitalize on name, image and likeness opportunities.

You can watch the tournament live on Prime Video, add on your favorite channels and watch at home or on your phone and laptop at work!

“I’ll say this. I personally coach hard,” Hurley said during a Friday press conference. “I coach these guys – the last two years since NIL started, I’ve coached my teams harder than I’ve coached any teams just because of everything that these guys now have at their disposal. The resources that the University of Connecticut and programs now invest in these players is not for their attendance. It’s not just to be on campus. It’s to produce and to produce winning. The way we travel, you know, the residence, the full-service dining we have in our 40 million plus practice facility, the NIL opportunities.”

UConn’s roster features plenty of NBA-caliber talent, and some of them have capitalized on their high profiles. That includes Donovan Clingan, a potential first-round draft pick who ranks No. 53 in the On3 NIL 100, the first of its kind and defacto NIL ranking of the top 100 high school and college athletes ranked by their On3 NIL Valuation. During the month of March, he notably landed NIL deals with Ritz Crackers and Kim Kardashian’s Skims.

But because his players are able to profit thanks to NIL, Hurley said he pushes them to play harder on the court, as well. It’s not for their benefit, though. It’s for the program’s supporters and because he wants them to represent their school well.

“I coach the hell out of these guys because of everything that they get,” he said. “And they have a responsibility to work harder and to represent UConn and to fight their absolute ass off to win games for our donors, our fans, the university because of everything that they get, that past players didn’t get.”