UConn to hire Luke Murray as new assistant men's basketball coach

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Luke Murray, a former assistant coach at Louisville, Xavier and Rhode Island, a former student at UConn and the son of legendary actor Bill Murray, is joining Dan Hurley’s staff, a source confirmed Monday.

Murray has been hired as an assistant coach at UConn. He is replacing Kevin Freeman, who recently left his position after one season to take a different job in the athletics department.

“Luke has a high level of experience as a coach and as a recruiter, he is someone I have a lot of confidence in because of the familiarity I have had with him at two other programs,” Hurley said in a statement. “He has an extremely smart and talented basketball mind and has the commitment level and passion that we need to elevate this program to the championship level where UConn should be. I’m very pleased to welcome him to the UConn family.”

It won’t be the first time Murray has been on Hurley’s staff. Murray spent two seasons as Hurley’s assistant at Rhode Island, helping the Rams finish 23-10 overall in 2014-15. He was also Hurley’s assistant at Wagner in 2010-11.

“I’m tremendously excited to reunite with Coach Hurley,” Murray said in a release sent out by UConn. “He’s a mentor of mine and somebody I hold in incredibly high regard. So, the opportunity to work for him and alongside great coaches like Kimani (Young) and Tom (Moore) is really something I’m deeply appreciative of.”

Murray’s first college coaching job was with Quinnipiac in 2007-08. He was director of basketball operations under Tom Moore, the current UConn assistant who was in his first of 10 seasons as the Bobcats’ head coach.

“We’ve stayed in close contact over the years,” Murray said of Hurley. “We were talking the other day and realized it’s been six years since we worked together, but our relationship has remained as strong as ever and he’s somebody that I really enjoy being around and learning from. It’s why I’m so excited about being here at UConn.”

Murray, 36, was a student at UConn as a freshman for one semester, and he and current Oklahoma City Thunder coach Mark Daigneault were well-known to the Huskies’ coaching staff before Daigneault became one of Jim Calhoun’s student managers and Murray transferred to Fairfield.

A native of Palisades, N.Y. and a graduate of St. Luke’s in New Canaan, Murray graduated from Fairfield with a degree in sociology in 2007.

Murray spent the past six seasons working for Chris Mack — three seasons at Xavier, and the past three seasons at Louisville. He appreciates UConn’s championship history.

“Obviously, a tremendous amount of success — the four national championships and the dominance of the Big East for such a long period of time,” he said. “And I’m really excited about the direction of the program now, the steady improvement that the program has shown under Coach Hurley’s leadership. I think the potential is there to continue really moving things in a great direction.”

Murray has been a hot coaching commodity for the past few seasons, and figures to still aspire for a head coaching position in the not-too-distant future. He is well-known as a recruiter, “one of the most organized, detailed and high-energy recruiters that I’ve ever been around,” Mack says in Murray’s Louisville online bio.

As Louisville’s recruiting coordinator, Murray was instrumental building the Cardinals’ six-man 2019 signing class, which was ranked ninth in the nation by ESPN.com, 10th by Rivals.com and 11th by 247sports.com. He was listed among the top 10 coaches in the nation under 40 years old by ESPN and as one of the top-five recruiters in the nation by 247Sports.

Murray also worked closely with Louisville’s perimeter players, including Jordan Nwora, who’s currently with the Milwaukee Bucks.

Prior to Louisville, Murray worked for three seasons (2015-18) as assistant coach at Xavier, helping the Musketeers to a combined 81-26 record, three NCAA Tournament appearances, including one as a No. 1 seed, a Big East regular-season championship, and a ranking as high as No. 3 in the AP poll. He played a key role as Xavier brought in three straight nationally-ranked recruiting classes. When Mack left to take over at Louisville, he asked Murray to join him on the Cardinals’ staff.

Along with Louisville, Xavier, URI and Wagner, Murray has also worked on the staffs at Towson and Arizona. After Quinnipiac, he spent a year as an assistant coach at Post University in Waterbury.

Murray and wife Kara are the parents of two sons, Luke, Jr., and Cash.

Murray’s father, Bill, is the famous star of films such as “Ghostbusters,” “Groundhog Day”, “Caddyshack,” “Meatballs,” “What About Bob?” and “Stripes.” Often, Bill Murray can be spotted at games in which his son his coaching, rooting the team on enthusiastically from the stands.

Perhaps there will be some Bill Murray sightings at Gampel Pavilion this winter.

david.borges@hearstmediact.com