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Report: Hurley wants DePaul job ‘badly’

The University at Buffalo was in a wait-and-see mode this weekend as the pursuit of men’s basketball coach Bobby Hurley heated up and the college basketball coaching moves continued.

DePaul University has strong interest in Hurley, and the UB coach was seen in Chicago’s O’Hare Airport on Saturday.

The Chicago Tribune reported that Valparaiso coach Bryce Drew and Hurley each want the DePaul men’s basketball job “badly,” according to a source. Hurley was scheduled to interview on Saturday and Drew on Sunday, according to the Tribune’s sources.

The two are considered the top two targets in the search that began after Oliver Purnell resigned earlier this month after five seasons.

DePaul has been a loser for eight straight seasons. However, the school is in the Big East Conference, rated No. 2 in the nation. And the Blue Demons have a track record of paying top dollar. Purnell was receiving a salary of $2.2 million from DePaul.

UB was hoping to lock up Hurley to a renegotiated deal earlier this week, but he opted to see what opportunities were available.

UB has made Hurley its best offer and is not in any further contract negotiations with the coach. UB has offered to increase his salary from $300,000 a year (not counting incentives) to somewhere higher than $550,000. That would make Hurley the highest-paid coach in the Mid-American Conference.

Drew has coached Valparaiso the last four seasons and taken that team to the NCAA Tournament twice.

Meanwhile, other high-profile coaching jobs continue to open, which could create more opportunities for Hurley. St. John’s fired coach Steve Lavin on Friday. There has been speculation that St. John’s could pursue Hurley if it does not first pursue his younger brother, Dan, the coach at Rhode Island.

Elsewhere, Texas on Saturday fired coach Rick Barnes, which could have a ripple effect to other schools. Arizona State is among the other high-profile jobs open.

email: mgaughan@buffnews.com