Born: June 28, 1971
Town: Jersey City
Robert Matthew Hurley was born June 28, 1971 in Jersey City. The son of legendary St. Anthony’s basketball coach Bob Hurley—and older brother of Seton Hall star Danny Hurley—Bobby ate, lived and slept hoops as a kid. As a freshman point guard for his father’s team, he led the Friars to the state championship in 1986—and again in 1987, 1988 and 1989. St. Anthony’s went 32–0 his senior season and garnered a #1 national ranking for the first time in school history. The Friars only lost five games in four years with Bobby running the show.
Bobby was recruited by Mike Krzyzewski for the Duke Blue Devils and was installed as the starting point guard his freshman year. In 1989–90, Duke went 29–9 and made it to the NCAA Finals, where they were blown out by UNLV 103–73. In Bobby’s sophomore year, the Blue Devils went 25–6 and were a perfect 16–0 at home. Duke made it back to the NCAA Finals for a rematch with UNLV. This time they edged the Runnin’ Rebels 79–77 on a pair of free throws by Christian Laettner.
Duke dominated its opponents in 1991–92. The trio of Bobby, Christian Laettner and Grant Hill proved unstoppable as they finished the regular season with a #1 national ranking, and reached the NCAA Finals for the third year in a row. (All three players would later have their uniforms retired; Bobby wore #11.). The Blue Devils needed a miracle Laettner buzzer-beater against Kentucky in the Regional Final to advance. In the national final, the Blue Devils dismantled Michigan’s “Fab Five” 71–51. Despite Laettner’s heroics, it was Bobby who won the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player Award.
With Laettner graduated, Bobby and Grant Hill guided the team to a 24–8 record. Bobby led the Blue Devils in points, assists and three-pointers, and was honored as a First-Team All-American. A run at a fourth striaght NCAA Finals was derailed by Jason Kidd and the California Bears in the second round of the tournament. For his college career, Bobby averaged 12.4 points, 1.5 steals and 7.7 assists. His 1,076 assists established a new NCAA record. He was later named one of the 50 Greatest ACC Players.
The Sacramento Kings selected Bobby with the 7th pick in the NBA Draft. Shortly after the beginning of the 1993–94 season, he was involved in an automobile accident. His SUV was hit by a truck and he was not wearing a seatbelt. Bobby was thrown from the car and badly injured. He was never more than a bench player after that. He returned to the court the following year and hung on through the 1997–98 season.
After his NBA days, Bobby did a little scouting, but his main business was horse breeding. He learned the ropes at Monmouth Park. One of his horses, Songandaprayer, made it to the Kentucky Derby. Another horse, Praying for Cash, had good success on several New Jersey racetracks. In 2010, Bobby got back into basketball, joining Danny on the Wagner College coaching staff in 2010. In 2012–13, the Hurleys took their act to Rhode Island, where Danny was the head coach and Bobby his assistant. By the end of that season Bobby was named head coach of SUNY-Buffalo. Bobby took the Bulls to their first NCAA Tournament in 2015.
That led to the head coaching job at Arizona State in 2015–16. The Sun Devils were a .500 team Bobby's first two seasons, but in his third year at the helm, 2017–18, the team went 12–0 against non-conference opponents and finished the year with a 20–12 record. That was good enough for an NCAA Tournament bid. The Sun Devils lost a close first-round game to Syracuse.