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UB trying hard to lock up Hurley

The University at Buffalo still was trying to finalize an agreement on a new contract with Bobby Hurley Wednesday as pursuit of the high-profile men’s basketball coach heated up.

UB is offering to make Hurley the highest-paid coach in the Mid-American Conference, and sources close to the negotiations told The News early Wednesday an oral agreement on the parameters of a new deal had been reached.

Hurley, however, late in the day said that was not the case.

“We’re in discussions for a contract extension, and there’s nothing that has been signed and agreed,” Hurley said in a Sirius XM Radio interview. “But, you know, I think that a lot of the stuff and the speculation and DePaul is a product of the success we’ve had. I love my team. I’m the coach of Buffalo right now. My heart is here right now, and I’m just staying in that moment. And we’ll see where everything else goes.”

A source close to the coach said Hurley had not given a definitive “yes” to a deal.

Hurley is being pursued by DePaul University of the Big East Conference. ESPN reported Wednesday that a planned interview by Hurley with DePaul still was scheduled for later this week.

UB wants to make Hurley the highest-paid men’s basketball coach in the MAC, sources have told The News. However, whether UB can finalize an agreement before Hurley heads off on the interview process remained unclear.

The terms of a deal with UB would put Hurley above the $550,000-a-year base-salary contract that Saul Phillips receives from Ohio University. All of the increased money UB would give Hurley was raised from university donors over the past two or three weeks, a source told The News. It will not come from the university’s state budget. Alumni excitement over UB’s run to its first Mid-American Conference championship and its first-ever NCAA Tournament appearance pushed the fundraising effort forward.

UB has been in talks with Hurley for weeks to try to pre-empt any attempt to woo the coach away.

DePaul has Hurley high on its list of candidates, numerous sources have reported. Hurley made a base salary of $250,000 this year, plus $50,000 in additional pay, plus some incentives.

The Bulls went 23-10 this year. Hurley is 42-20 in two seasons as head coach.

DePaul is looking for a coach in the wake of the resignation of Oliver Purnell two weeks ago. He compiled a 54-105 record over five seasons. Purnell, a 27-year head coaching veteran, was making a reported $2.2 million a year. He had taken teams to the NCAA Tournament six times before joining DePaul.

email: mgaughan@buffnews.com