Nate says “No”, and Dan Hurley says “Hold on here, I am not Leaving UConn”, as Kentucky job search thickens in the weeds, with ‘Rumors Running Rampant’

Two top candidates for Kentucky opening emphatically shut down rumors
from Victor Barbosa, with

Two of the biggest names to be connected to the head-coaching vacancy at Kentucky have been Alabama’s Nate Oats and UConn’s Dan Hurley.

Both men made it clear Monday night that they weren’t interested in the position.

Hurley’s words came shortly after the Huskies won their second straight national title by defeating Purdue, 75-60.

Fourth-seeded Alabama and top-seeded UConn squared off in the Final Four on Saturday, with Hurley’s crew taking an 86-72 decision.

Oats took over the Crimson Tide ahead of the 2019-20 season and after going 16-15 in the pandemic-altered campaign, he’s led the program to four straight NCAA Tournament appearances. It’s the first time that Alabama has had four March Madness berths in a row since 2006 during the Mark Gottfried days.

The team went 26-7 (16-2 in the SEC) in 2020-21 and earned a No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament before falling to 11th-seeded UCLA in the Sweet 16. Alabama was a No. 6 seed two years ago after a 19-14 (9-9) campaign and lost in the first round of March Madness against Notre Dame.

Led by now Charlotte Hornets star rookie Brandon Miller, Alabama finished a program-best 31-6 (16-2) last season to finish No. 1 in the final AP poll and earn a top seed in the NCAA Tournament before being upset by fifth-seeded San Diego State in the Sweet 16.

When Hurley talked with reporters about the Wildcats gig, he joked that a move to Kentucky would put a serious strain on his relationship with his wife, Andrea, who’s a New Jersey native.

“Oh my God, Kentucky or anywhere that’s going to take her further from New Jersey,” he said, according to a report by ESPN’s Pete Thamel. “I mean, we just went to Rhode Island, which I had to drag her to, and then to Connecticut. I got her closer. And now further? I can’t afford a divorce right now, too. I just started making money.”

It was reported Sunday night that longtime Kentucky men’s basketball coach John Calipari was finalizing a five-year deal to join the University of Arkansas.