Duke fans have known for a long time that Blue Devil legend Bobby Hurley is fiery. All Hurleys, as far as we can tell, are fiery. It’s their nature and probably the key to their coaching success.
Even by Hurley standards though what’s unfolding at Arizona State is extraordinary.
We were dimly aware that there was a controversy there involving a booster and sexual harassment.
Now we learn that Hurley was well aware of the booster’s reputation and alleged actions and that he confronted his AD about his response to said booster, via e-mail (at least), in December.
And it gets personal.
One of the women who was concerned about the booster was Hurley’s wife Leslie. Given everything we know about Bobby Hurley, you can imagine that he's absolutely livid. Not the sideline anger. Like really, deeply-can't-sleep-upset.
In his e-mail, Hurley told his boss, ASU AD Ray Anderson, he felt that he had “disregarded the safety and shown no sensitivity towards the women that have experienced sexual assault” and that “I feel like I’ve been lied to.”
Strong words to your direct boss. He sent copies of the letter to his personal attorney and to the president of the university as well.
Hurley also accused Anderson of assigning a numerical value to the severity of the alleged behaviors and asks how he would feel if his wife or daughter were affected by a man behaving in this manner.
This is ugly and may get uglier. The allegations against Wear are serious, and the allegations against AD Anderson are as well. Among other things, Anderson is alleged to have flown with Wear after the initial allegations came up and allegedly also told assistant AD David Cohen (since fired and he’s filed suit over that) that he would not be told “how or when to talk to a [expletive] donor.”
There have been some massive conflicts between ADs and coaches over the years. Bob Knight’s situation at Indiana comes to mind, although his conflict was more with the president. Roy Williams left Kansas because he wasn’t happy with his AD. Lefty Driesell had a messy divorce with Maryland. Bob Huggins at Cincinnati. The list goes on.
Still, we can’t remember anything quite like this. And we’ll say this for Anderson: he’s very lucky that the students were sent home. If he had massive protests on campus, the bad press would probably cost him his job already. As it is, he’ll have to deal with angry faculty and students again soon enough.
Given the level of conflict and distrust here, it’s hard to see these two co-existing for long. Hurley left for ASU, remember, when he had a relatively minor issue with the Buffalo administration over his contract and pay for his assistants. Certainly it didn’t involve his wife or other women making accusations or multi-million dollar lawsuits filed or soon to be filed.
Here’s a thought, and keep in mind that this is speculation only, just playing out a scenario.
What happens if, as things begin to get back to normal, a few late coaching moves are made? What happens if, say, the Kansas situation goes south and Bill Self is forced out? Or if, say, (again pure speculation because we don’t expect this to happen either), the various issues at Michigan State outside of the basketball office lead Tom Izzo to step down? Or perhaps Dana Altman at Oregon?
Could we see one of those ADs figuring Hurley is clearly unhappy and getting in touch? Yes we could. Could we imagine him giving Anderson the finger on the way out?
Yes we could. And we wouldn't blame him one bit if he did.
Update: here is more on the e-mail exchange including a longer excerpt from Anderson’s e-mail.