ARIZONA STATE BASKETBALL

Bobby Hurley: Fundraising must be priority for Arizona State under a new AD

Nov 14, 2023, 11:25 AM | Updated: Nov 15, 2023, 7:49 am

Bobby Hurley, Arizona State...

Head coach Bobby Hurley of the Arizona State Sun Devils talks to a ref in the first half against the Mississippi State Bulldogs in the Barstool Sports Invitational at Wintrust Arena on November 8, 2023 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)

(Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)

Arizona State men’s basketball coach Bobby Hurley has survived down seasons, recruited top-ranked players and made three NCAA Tournament appearances in eight seasons before this year.

He was a relatively risky hire out of Buffalo by vice president for university athletics Ray Anderson, who resigned on Monday.

The shake-up of the Sun Devil athletic department now leads to the question: Will that help or hurt Hurley?

He might have the biggest ask of any coach: Does Hurley believe his basketball program is in need of a new arena?

“I trust our leadership will do their due diligence and do a great job of putting together a list of great candidates (for athletic director),” he told Arizona Sports’ Bickley & Marotta on Tuesday. “I think this is a very attractive place and there’s a reason it’s been called a sleeping giant for a while. I think there are a lot of things in place that this athletic program can be highly successful.

“I think as (football coach) Kenny Dillingham and (baseball coach Willie Bloomquist) touched on yesterday, fundraising and generating money has got to be a major priority, I think especially in the new world we’re in right now in college athletics.”

Desert Financial Arena, which was built in 1974, has been the focus of improvement plans for the past several years. Anderson said in February 2022 that the home of the basketball program was in “dire” need of updating.

The school in 2018 proposed a plan for a combined hockey and basketball arena, but the logistics flipped to make what’s now Mullett Arena a smaller, hockey-focused venue.

Arizona State now enters a search for a new athletic director who will latch on to a football rebuild already underway.

The basketball program though, will be in the spotlight for those lacking facilities needing attention. Money for that potential arena project and for name, image and likeness funding will be needed.

It appears the Sun Devil fan base reacted to Anderson’s departure, as he leaves with the football team still under investigation for illegal recruiting practices in the Herm Edwards era.

The Sun Angel Collective, the school’s NIL arm, aimed to receive 500 new supporters after news of Anderson’s resignation came down Monday. Just that tweet received 138,000 views in less than a full day’s time, and SunDevilSource.com reported the group added a record number of new members.

As ASU support bubbles, there is a near-full season of basketball ahead for Hurley to worry about.

The New Jersey native said Tuesday he is thankful for Anderson plucking him out of Buffalo and bringing him to the desert.

“Thankful, grateful that Ray Anderson brought me out to the state of Arizona,” Hurley said. “It’s been such a big part of my life. Two of my children will be ASU grads.

“Such a big part of my adult life has been attached to Arizona State and it was because of Ray Anderson’s trust in me, to give me the opportunity to lead our basketball program. I’m just very thankful and I told Ray that yesterday.”

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