Let's start with my own emotional reaction to this situation.
If you told me when Hurley was hired he would leave after two seasons and in those years; The Bulls would go 43-20, with the division twice, win the MAC Championship once, get us to the dance, and put up two players of the year. Well I would have been thrilled. UB was not a weak program but we have not managed to outright win the East or win in Cleveland. check and check.
Still I feel like I got kicked in the gut a little bit. Not because Hurley did anything wrong but because a week ago it looked like the Bulls would get one more season out of him. So despite the voice of reason in my head saying "mission accomplished" the fan voice won out.
Was it the right decision for Hurley?
Now we can argue the pros and cons of Bobby Hurley's very Gill-esq decision until we are blue in the face.
He will probably end up making around 2,000,000 a year in Arizona and he will be sitting on a three to five year contract. The Sun Devils are a meh team in a very good conference. Kind of like Kansas football in the Big12.
One can say "If Gill stayed in Buffalo he could have built us into Ohio or NIU". And that may be true but he would still be making less than a million a year. He went to Kansas, could not walk on water, and was fired after two seasons. His take from Kansas... six million dollars (I may be off a bit). That is what about 20 years of his salary would have been at Buffalo. Now he is coaching Liberty where he is payed well enough and is beloved.
So Gill took a shot, made some big money, and landed in a comfortable job.
Maybe Hurley makes ASU into a power, then he will have his pick of any job in basketball, perhaps even Duke.
But even if Hurley flames out he will have a huge payday and on name alone will land as a coach somewhere else, and he will do it quickly. Like Gill he will have money, and a job.
What about the players?
Players transfer and coaches leave. It happens all the time. Kids drop a commit when a better commit comes along and nobody bats an eyelash.
I feel a bit sad for guys losing their coach but he leaves them with a championship ring and two years of playing under Bobby Hurley. Perhaps the Bulls will hire Nate Oats so that the kids on the team will be impacted as little as possible. While I am a pragmatic "that's life" sort of fellow I do occasionally like seeing good things happen.
What about Danny White?
I'm going to get into this more in another piece but if you are running around saying White should have offered more I have to ask you to put the crack pipe down and step away slowly.
Danny White is known for a lot of things but timidity, especially in the area of hoops, is not one of them. TBN is reporting that Hurley's base offer was $551,000 and that to me seems somewhat plausible. It might be true or it may be conjecture.
What I know for sure is that White offered Hurley every penny he could. ADDW is a smart guy and he had to know two things. (1) Hurley is a weapon you can use to sell season tickets and solicit donations and (2) with another MAC Championship and Hurley is gone to a huge program.
If White could have offered Hurley a five year contract and added in another 200,000 dollars (making it a 750,000 contract) then he would get 100,000 per year of contract back in buyout money. At this point Hurley was almost a money printing press for the department.
So if the offer was $551,000 per year that was the offer because it's all White could muster. And if that deal is coincidentally only 1,000 higher than the next highest MAC coach it means that Hurley initially came in under Ohio's Saul Phillips but White found money somewhere else in the department.
I really hope that Nate Oats is named the next coach, and soon. Lock down all the players we can. If Oats is well-liked by the boys in blue then damn it, give him a shot at the helm next season.
The sooner the program is stable the sooner the coach can reach out to guys like Maurice O'Field and say "Bobby is gone but Hurley Ball is not going anywhere and we will compete for the MAC again.
As fans of the U it's our job to root the the Blue and White, hopefully they make that as much fun next year as it was this year.