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"I Hate Bobby Hurley"

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The MAC's most hated coach was created in Bowling Green. Made infamous in Akron and Embraced in Buffalo.

Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

On Selection Sunday, ESPN 30 for 30: "I Hate Christian Laettner" will debut. The movie explores the Duke player who won two national championships and went to four straight Final Fours while earning the hatred of many. This will be a must watch for UB fans, both for Laettner the Angola native and Nichols Alum, and for his teammate the equally hated current UB Coach Bobby Hurley.

Inspired by this movie, I reviewed twitter to find all the hate Hurley has received since becoming UB's coach.

Almost every twitter mention of Bobby Hurley was positive as he started his UB career. Opposing fans were excited to see the Duke legend. As MAC play began, UB faced NIU, Hustle Belt noticed Bobby was upset at bad refereeing, and he earned a technical. The narrative at the time was, MAC refs are bad, this is the conference with refs that called a safety on a throw from the 4 (that was a different sport, but MAC BBall refs have probably a bigger reputation for being subpar than their football counterparts). Hurley's actions were seen as reasonable.

It was Hurley's 3rd tech in his first 11 games as a coach, and his first in his first half of MAC play. 4 MAC games passed, UB went 2-2, no talk about Hurley, except excitement from fans to see him in their barn. Then, in UB's second game against NIU, UB is hit with 4 technical fouls (Hurley had one of them), in an 8 point win at NIU. NIU saw 2 games and 2 Hurley techs, so they could have been justified in starting a Hurley narrative, but they didn't:

Again, a tech, but justified by the crazy amount of fouls called. Seven MAC games, two technicals and both seemingly justified. There was no narrative about Hurley's "antics." Then Bowling Green happened.

Before the game comments took an anti-Hurley tone, which happened from time to time when fans of UNC or Duke haters found out the old Blue Devil was coming to town. This one however came from Jason Knavel, Assistant AD for Athletic Communications for BGSU:

The tone set by one of BGSU's Athletic Administrators carried to their coaching staff. Current High School coach Lamonta Stone tried to fight UB's best player. Hurley in defense of his player gets his 3rd technical in his 8th MAC game. Instead of an indictment of Stone, or praise for Hurley, the "hate Hurley" narrative is born in Bowling Green, Ohio.

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Jordan Strack is a BGSU alum and weekend sports anchor at Toledo News Now. He is a troll.

I think journalists should report more from an impartial point of view. The Sentinel-Tribune calls Hurley eccentric, one of many less-judgmental descriptors used for Hurley.

Bloggers can choose to emulate the journalists, or they can be more entertaining and biased. Both styles are seen as Hustle Belt states the facts with no editorial while Orange and Brown makes a solid joke.

As always trolls and hacks are just bad. David Rice, is a BGSU fan and is one of the first of many people whom ironically take to twitter to whine about Hurley whining. David Rice also tweets his taunt AT Bobby Hurley. David Rice is a troll.

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Hustle Belt stayed above the fray until BGSU based Hustle Belt Writer Matt Daley attached "tantrum" to Hurley.

Ryan Autullo, BGSU grad formerly of the Toledo Blade, currently of the Austin Statesman asks a stupid question:

Yes, at the time he had only played 7 MAC coaching staffs, so Hurley hadn't picked a fight with at least 4 MAC Coaching staffs.

He also does that thing where he states Hurley is getting a reputation, but does not back it up with anything. Does Ryan have quotes from refs or opposing coaches to back that up? Of course not. This was about assigning a narrative to Hurley.

Despite the reputation, 3 games go by and no technicals for Hurley and no negative tweets online. Then in a close game against a rival, a no call late gets Hurley upset. Which is the appropriate response. He does NOT get a tech.

UB gets a big win against Akron, but Hurley's emotional on court manner had been noticed by the UB faithful. Bull Run comments on Hurley's temperament, which was what I'd call a good-natured attempt to humorously acknowledge Hurley's style.

Bull Run later pulls the story and apologies for running it (Full Disclosure: I was against pulling it & against apologizing).

At the time, it seemed anything short of a MAC Championship would not be enough for Bulls fans who for many different reasons (mostly loyal fans of fired coach Reggie Witherspoon) weren't initially fans of Bobby Hurley.

***

Distracted by our own little scandal, a much more annoying presence arrived, Ryan Isley.

In his postgame conference after a loss to Akron, Hurley expressed displeasure with his treatment from officials. Isley asked:

"Coach, do you feel like you bring some of that on yourself though with the way you act on the sideline?"

When Hurley said no, and that other coaches in the MAC do similar things, Isley asked another question:

"do you think you put your team in a bad situation by getting a tech tonight?"

Hurley said: "I don't think I need to answer your questions about that" although he did, stating: "players responded to me because they respect that fact that I will fight for them"

Isley then asked a third question, which wasn't a question:

"It seemed like it was a big part of the game though."

If it was a trial, Hurley's lawyer would have objected to Isley's badgering the witness. Hurley responded: "I get your joke. You have no idea what you are watching" and Hurley left.

I get Isley's joke as well, he's the joke, he is an uber troll. The blogger from morethanafan.net became obsessed with Hurley, complaining every time Hurley did anything, and celebrating anytime something bad happened to UB. He expanded the Hurley narrative from Bowling Green to Akron and was by far the single most passionate person promoting the narrative.

For all his hatred, he is like Kathy Griffin in the "The Cartoon" episode of Seinfeld. He tried to build his career on his Hurley story, and Hurley understandably won't talk to him anymore, so now Isley is irrelevant, he has no new story. Isley wrote his story on Hurley in early March 2014. 11 months later, he was still linking that same story on twitter.

It is my belief that Isley wanted to use Hurley to go viral. He saw what he thought was an easy target, with name brand recognition. He wanted Hurley to yell, scream, throw a chair, or do something so Isley could later go on ESPN to talk about it. But he miscalculated; Hurley was in control, and he walked away. Isley however couldn't do the same, he doubled down, attacking Hurley for a year in a desperate plea for attention. In a way I hate to give him the attention, but scroll to the bottom to see his timeline of Hurley obsession.

***

For every narrative, a counter and equally annoying narrative is developed. The MAC armchair refs, (again ironically) took to twitter to beg for technicals, because Hurley begged for calls. When Hurley gets a T, the joy is short lived as most critics instantly begin begging for him to get a 2nd and get thrown out (Hurley has never received two technical fouls in one game). When Hurley doesn't earn a tech, it's not because his behavior is within the rules, it's because the refs are either smitten or afraid of Hurley.

Which by the way, if they are smitten or afraid, they are bad refs. Logically if they are bad refs and Hurley is complaining, then his complaints are justified right?

Matt Daley is back, this time not hiding behind Hustle Belt. UB is not playing BGSU that day, they are playing Ohio. Matt Daley is a troll.

Ball don't lie is just my favorite thing. The narrative is strongest in Bowling Green and Akron, and by proximity bleeds to Kent and Toledo. Ohio and Buffalo fight over something new every matchup. Somehow the narrative escapes Miami, and the rest of the MAC West.

Anyway UB played and lost to Akron, many fans tweeted thoughts about Hurley see above re: armchair refs.

As the season ends, the narrative allows trolls to attack anything Hurley does or says. Ryan Autullo, previously of stupid questions, now gives us the sequel, stupid interpretations:

Obviously facetious Hurley quote meant to build up his players, Autullo takes it as Hurley praising himself. Even Bobby D had to say something:

Akron fans decide there is no offseason for being stupid trolls.

This next one is from April 29. It's almost May and this dude is waiting for Hurley to say anything so he can respond negatively. I know Akron is boring, but get a part time job at the rubber factory and buy a life Nate.

***

I could keep going through the current season (see current season timeline below), but the few months of last year shows how the narrative started and was promoted by a few trolls in Bowling Green and expanded upon by a troll/opportunist in Akron.

This year, despite less technical fouls, the narrative was more intense.

Hurley has 11 technical fouls in 59 games, an 18.6% rate, which means he gets a tech in 1 of 5 games.

This year, Hurley was technical foul free for the first 20 games of the season, (22 games in a row going back to last season).

In non conference play, Hurley has a tech rate of 9%, 1 per 11 games; in MAC play, his tech rate skyrockets to 24% 1 tech per 4 games. The numbers imply MAC refs are letting the narrative affect how they do their jobs. Nothing exemplifies this more than when referee Ray Perone gave Hurley a technical 55 seconds into the Toledo game.

In the meantime, it seems the narrative has healed a fanbase that was fractured after the firing of a beloved head coach. Hurley's team plays like he coaches, fast, furious and passionate. Basketball passion is at a height not seen since the 2004 and 2005 years. The play is part of it, but the hate is definitely part of it as well.

Bobby Hurley won two national championships while being hated it doesn't bother him. From Buffalo to New York City, New Yorkers have thrived despite hatred from others; we love it, it brings us together, against you. So while the rest of Bull Run and I are very tired of the narrative, I guess we should thank MAC fans for the inspiration.

***

Fittingly, the narrative that started in 2014 at Bowling Green when a late technical foul by Hurley helped BGSU win, came full circle a year later when a late Hurley tech at Bowling Green reenergized UB. UB won the game, swept BGSU, won the MAC East and the #2 seed. UB has been undefeated since that technical.

Hopefully this story ends the right way, with MAC fans yelling, screaming, crying, whining and complaining as UB wins a championship at the Q.

***

2014-15 hate highlights below but first:

1) You can pinpoint the moment Bull Run got realllll sick of the Hurley narrative.

2) Real Journalists have consensus, they will refer to Hurley as eccentric, excitable, entertaining or passionate.

3) Taking a time when Hurley is being light and jumping on it to criticize Hurley is hilarious. My favorite is the Miami fan who didn't care for Hurley's Marshawn Lynch joke and people who tell him to act like he's been there before... he's a second year head coach, he has literally never been anywhere before.

4) Again the irony of people spending all game whining about Bobby Hurley whining.

5) I feel Hurley's criticism of Saul was regrettable based on the amount of criticism Hurley gets. I also think it's understandable seeing as Hurley is singled out for criticism in this conference. I think "Live and Let Live" should be the motto for the MAC.

6) It's double-regrettable because Ohio fans have taken "Unprofessional" as an unofficial slogan, whenever Hurley or UB does anything, they bring that moment up. Thank god Ohio is eliminated and their fans won't be in Cleveland this year.

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(read from bottom up for chronological order)

The Ryan Isley File (read from top down for chronological order):