NCF Nation: Clint Hurtt

3-point stance: Tide adjusts at QB

January, 27, 2014
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1. With the signing of Florida State transfer quarterback Jacob Coker, Alabama head coach Nick Saban papered over a recruiting misstep. Without Coker, the Crimson Tide had no experienced quarterback to follow AJ McCarron. Phillip Sims, who had been the next in line, left Tuscaloosa nearly two years ago for Virginia. As Coker signed, 2015 recruit Ricky Town switched his commitment from Alabama to USC. But clearly that’s only a coincidence. Coker’s eligibility expires after 2015.

2. Once the NCAA put a black mark on Louisville assistant Clint Hurtt dating to his days at Miami and the Nevin Shapiro case, it was a matter of time before Hurtt shifted his career to the pro game. My colleague Brett McMurphy reported that Hurtt is going to the Chicago Bears. It was clear that Texas wasn’t going to welcome his arrival with Charlie Strong. History has shown that NFL teams don’t care about NCAA sanctions. The pro game has a lot fewer recruiting rules.

3. Adam Rittenberg’s analysis of the Big Ten’s issues at quarterback in 2014 reminded me of the lack of experience at quarterback in the Big 12 last season. David Ash of Texas began the season with 18 starts, the most of any quarterback in the league. It didn’t take long to see the Big 12’s offensive problems. But by the end of the season, the young talent began to grow up. If you saw Oklahoma’s Trevor Knight and Texas Tech’s Davis Webb, you know what I mean.
When news broke late Friday night that Louisville had placed assistant Clint Hurtt on administrative leave and took him off the recruiting trail, the first question that crossed my mind was, "What took so long?"

Hurtt has been a part of the NCAA investigation into alleged violations at Miami for years now, but he had remained a full-fledged member of the staff and athletic department until three days ago.

Coach Charlie Strong said the move was made so that Hurtt could concentrate on his response to the NCAA, which charged him last month with receiving and providing impermissible benefits while working as an assistant at Miami. We can question whether the move should have been made sooner, but there is no doubt it is a complete no-brainer for the Cardinals to put Hurtt on leave given the severity of the allegations.

This now leads to two more questions: Does Hurtt have a future at Louisville? And how does his absence impact the Cards on the recruiting trail?

During an interview last month with local reporters, athletic director Tom Jurich did not guarantee that Hurtt would be with the program in 2013. Much of that depends on how this case turns out. Though it is still too early to tell what will happen, there is no doubt that Hurtt's reputation has taken a hit.

You can bet that opposing coaches are using this NCAA investigation against him, and therefore against Louisville, on the recruiting trail. I don't think anybody would blame Jurich if he decided to cut ties with Hurtt before a resolution is made in the case.

As for the impact on recruiting, Hurtt is the team's recruiting coordinator and one of its top recruiters in the South Florida area. He has helped Strong build a pipeline into Miami. Back in 2011, he was named ESPN.com recruiter of the year for the very work he did in the state, helping land quarterback Teddy Bridgewater and receiver Eli Rogers. Of the players he had a direct impact on signing that year, six are scheduled to start this season.

So there is no understating how valuable a recruiter Hurtt has been for the Cardinals. Strong and several other assistants on staff have ties into South Florida, so that pipeline is not going to shrivel up. But losing your recruiting coordinator -- even for a brief period of time -- is going to put added responsibilities onto the staff. Some impact is sure to be felt. How big -- or how little -- that impact is won't be known for a little while.

Louisville puts Clint Hurtt on leave

March, 22, 2013
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Louisville defensive line coach Clint Hurtt has been placed on administrative leave while preparing to answer allegations of violations the NCAA says he committed while he was a Miami Hurricanes assistant.

Cardinals coach Charlie Strong said Friday Hurtt has been given time away from the program so he "can concentrate on his case."

Hurtt, 34, faces allegations of receiving and providing impermissible benefits while at Miami. The NCAA last month sent Hurtt and Louisville a letter stating that he received a $2,500 loan and provided perks to Hurricanes recruits.

To read the rest of this story, click here.

NCAA: Clint Hurtt misled probe

February, 25, 2013
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Former Miami assistant Clint Hurtt provided false or misleading information during the NCAA's investigation into the Hurricanes' athletic department, according to public documents obtained by ESPN.

The NCAA's Notice of Allegations claims that between August 2006 and April 2009, Nevin Shapiro provided at least $7,025 in impermissible supplemental compensation to Hurtt and another unidentified Miami volunteer recruiting assistant.

According to the NCAA, Hurtt received a $2,500 interest-free loan from Shapiro in April 2009 and repaid it three months later. Hurtt also had knowledge of Shapiro's involvement with providing impermissible benefits directly to five recruits and three members of a recruit's family. The total value of benefits was at least $3,315.

Shapiro also with Hurtt's knowledge, assisted in the recruitment of seven more players. Additionally, with Hurtt's knowledge, Shapiro provided impermissible benefits to four recruits and eight then-current Miami players.

Hurtt was an assistant for four seasons at Miami from 2006-09, the last three as defensive line coach and recruiting coordinator. In 2010, Hurtt joined Louisville and has been the Cardinals' defensive line coach and recruiting coordinator for the past three seasons.

All of Hurtt's NCAA allegations occurred while he was at Miami.

"I've said all along since it did not happen at the University of Louisville, Clint is due his due process and I think that's the only fair thing we can do as a university," Louisville athletic director Tom Jurich said. "Clint's side of the story is much different than the allegations, so I think we just wait the 90 days and see how it unfolds.

"Since Clint has been here, he's never done an iota wrong," Jurich said. "We have a compliance staff that works diligently to make sure we've got safety nets in place.

To read Brett McMurphy's full story, click here.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Louisville's athletic director is keeping assistant coach Clint Hurtt on the Cardinals football staff while he answers NCAA allegations of ethical misconduct while coaching at Miami.

Athletic director Tom Jurich said Thursday he doesn't see a need to change Hurtt's role or status with the program right now, but that he couldn't say if Hurtt will be with Louisville next season.

Hurtt has until May 20 to respond to the allegations, and the AD said, "We'll just wait until the 90 days are up and see what the resolution is through the NCAA."

The NCAA notified Hurtt and the university on Tuesday of the violations the sports governing body believes he committed as a Hurricanes assistant. Hurtt is accused of providing false information during the organization's investigation of Miami.

It could take several months before the NCAA hands down any possible sanctions.

"Clint is due his due process," Jurich said. "I think that's the only fair thing that we can do as a university. Clint's side of the story is much different than the allegations are, so I think we wait the 90 days and see how it unfolds then."

Hurtt, who played at Miami, was a Hurricanes assistant for eight seasons between 2001-09. He faces the ethical conduct charge known as NCAA Rule 10.1. The NCAA also believes he sent about 40 impermissible text messages to recruits, which typically is a secondary violation.

Jurich did not comment on the NCAA letter, saying that he hasn't had a chance to go through it "piece by piece" and doesn't know everything that's in it. But he said Hurtt is disputing many of the charges.

To read the full story, click here.
Louisville athletic director Tom Jurich said Wednesday there is no change in the status of recruiting coordinator/defensive line coach Clint Hurtt, who has been implicated in an improper benefits scandal during his time at the University of Miami.

The NCAA announced Wednesday its investigation into Miami is on hold while an internal review is conducted into its own enforcement program. The news comes amid one published report that Hurtt was due to receive a hefty notice of allegations from the NCAA.

Jurich told reporters in Louisville: "I don't believe any allegation has even been made yet to him, not to my knowledge at least. When they do, he'll get his due process and get his chance to speak. And we'll wait for the final outcome and then we'll make our decisions."

He was then asked how comfortable he felt with the ongoing situation.

"I'm very comfortable with the people we have on this campus," Jurich said. "Charlie [Strong] sets the tone for the football program. [Louisville compliance officials] John Carns and Jody Sykes -- they work with football on a daily basis. We're very strong in the compliance area and we want to continue to be that way. It means a lot to us."
One of the biggest frustrations for Louisville last season was its inability to stay healthy on the defensive line.

Defensive end Greg Scruggs was supposed to be one of the leaders of the group, but he was hobbled all year with a toe injury. Marcus Smith, Brandon Dunn, Roy Philon and B.J. Butler either missed time or played through various injuries. There was simply never consistency up front.

[+] EnlargeLouisville's Marcus Smith
Jamie Rhodes/US PRESSWIREMarcus Smith, left, has had a "phenomenal camp," according to defensive line coach Clint Hurtt.
But that is all set to change headed into 2012. Though Scruggs has gone on to the NFL, Louisville returns three starters and a wealth of players with game experience. This could end up being one of the best groups in the Big East.

"This is the best group we’ve had since we’ve been here," defensive line coach Clint Hurtt said in a recent phone interview. "We have a solid two-deep where if the second unit had to go out on the field, I don’t feel we’d miss a beat. We have eight, nine guys who can do stuff for us. They’re taking the coaching, and listening to us. But it’s the maturity of the group what you’re starting to see."

Hurtt continues to sing the praises of Smith, saying he has had a "phenomenal camp." In addition to the returning players listed, Jamaine Brooks, B.J. Dubose, Sheldon Rankins and Lorenzo Mauldin are expected to be major contributors as well. Mauldin is back on defense after seeing some time playing tight end last year, and will be used as a pass-rushing specialist at the outset in a Bruce Irvin-type role.

The goal is for him to eventually be an every down player once he truly begins to learn the intricacies of playing the position. The goal for the entire group is to be able to just rush its four down linemen in pressure situations. Perhaps the best news of all is there are no seniors in this group.

"The future looks bright," defensive coordinator Vance Bedford said at media day. "Right now, we have a lot of depth. Our defensive line is moving around. For us to have a chance to be successful this year, we have to win up front. If we can do that and control the line of scrimmage up front with the guys we have, with the depth that we have, I am excited.”
When it comes to listing the top up-and-coming coaches in the Big East, it is hard to overlook two at the top -- Charlie Strong at Louisville and Butch Jones at Cincinnati.

Strong has the Cardinals on the rise, while Jones has delivered for Cincinnati with a relatively modest salary.

But there are some young assistants in the league with potential. Here is who I am keeping an eye on in 2012:

Brooks Bollinger, Pitt: Bollinger is going into his first season with the Panthers, coming to the team from the high school coaching ranks. While there is much that is yet to be known about him, this is a huge year for Bollinger. He gets to work with Tino Sunseri, the most maligned quarterback in the Big East. If Bollinger can get Sunseri to improve, he deserves major credit in Year 1.

Ryan Day, Temple: Day has his first opportunity as an offensive coordinator after spending the past five seasons coaching receivers at Boston College. At the age of 33, Day is the second-youngest offensive coordinator in the Big East, beat out by Syracuse coordinator Nathaniel Hackett by nine months. This season is a great chance for Day to show what he can do with the move into the Big East.

Nathaniel Hackett, Syracuse: Speaking of Hackett, this also is a huge year for the Syracuse offense and Hackett in particular. One of the biggest knocks against the Orange offense has been its inability to make big, explosive plays. Coach Doug Marrone has promised that is going to change this season. And that falls squarely on Hackett's shoulders.

Clint Hurtt, Louisville: I am curious about Hurtt, defensive line coach and recruiting coordinator for the Cardinals. He continues to be one of the top recruiters in the Big East, but there is a big asterisk next to his name because we have no idea about his role in the scandal at Miami during his tenure there. The NCAA has yet to finish its investigation, but Hurtt was implicated by rogue Miami booster Nevin Shapiro in a Yahoo! Sports report. If the allegations are proven to be false, Hurtt's star will continue to rise. If the report is corroborated, he is in big trouble.

Jerome Pathon, USF: He begins Year 1 with the Bulls after spending the past three seasons working with the receivers at the University of San Diego. Pathon played in the NFL and got coaching experience with internships in the NFL, so he should be ready to take the step up. USF has an immense wealth of talent and potential at the receiver position but has fallen short of capitalizing on what it has, so this is a critical season.
Louisville has made headlines for its recruiting success, ability to bring in top-notch transfers and consecutive bowl appearances.

But the biggest headline the Cardinals should be making this offseason is for something far more mundane: coaching stability.

Louisville is the only Big East school that has not lost a head or assistant coach since the football season ended. The biggest shakeup happened during the year, when Mike Sanford was relieved of his duties as offensive coordinator and Shawn Watson stepped in. But even then, coach Charlie Strong simply elevated a qualified candidate he had on staff without much muss or fuss.

When Watson was officially named offensive coordinator last month, it was expected. Strong made one other move -- elevating grad assistant Sherrone Moore to tight ends coach. So essentially, the staff is the same one that Louisville had for nearly the entire 2011 season.

For a comparison, Cincinnati and USF are the other two Big East programs with head coaches going into their third seasons. Bearcats coach Butch Jones has lost two assistants -- co-defensive coordinator Tim Banks and secondary coach/special teams coordinator Kerry Coombs; Skip Holtz lost defensive coordinator Mark Snyder and receivers coach Phil McGeoghan, his top recruiter. In addition, Holtz moved several of his assistants around to different positions.

It is a rarity today to find football staffs that remain intact for more than a handful of seasons. Successful programs lose assistants to either head-coaching jobs or better opportunities at more high-profile programs. Losing programs get rid of coaches in order to improve themselves.

So any time you can keep your staff together, it helps, from a continuity, chemistry and stability standpoint. The hottest name on the Louisville staff belongs to Strong, who has caught the attention of programs around the nation for getting Louisville back on the right track. But Strong recently signed a contract extension, and has indicated he only sees his future with the Cardinals. Local high school cornerback Ryan White, who just committed to Louisville for 2013, told the Courier-Journal the coaching staff was "building something special."

“I really didn’t think a lot about Louisville my freshman and sophomore year," he told the newspaper. "But I really liked what I saw last year with Louisville. I think they are on the rise and I wanted to be a part of that with their coaching staff. It’s only going to get better."

Any time you have a coach committed for the long term, you get your assistants, your players and recruits to buy in. Recruiting coordinator Clint Hurtt told me last month:
"Obviously everyone wants to know security, are Coach Strong and our staff going to stay in place? We have great people on our staff. Coach Strong did an unbelievable job putting together the right group of people. Kids want to make sure we're in place. That's a lot of the negative recruiting part. Everybody expects Coach Strong to follow suit with what past coaches have done here, but we have to help them understand this is a place we enjoy. This is not a quick stopping place for us as a coaching staff."

None of this is to say the Louisville staff will remain together forever. Losing assistants has become a given at nearly every school across the country.

But it is quite an accomplishment for Louisville to keep the continuity going for another season.
Louisville put together another outstanding recruiting class under the leadership of coach Charlie Strong and recruiting coordinator Clint Hurtt. So how did the Cardinals do it? I had a chance to catch up with Hurtt to find out.

Just to start off, what are your overall thoughts on the class you signed?

Clint Hurtt: We're all really excited. We met a lot of needs that we were looking to accomplish coming into the class. We wanted to make sure we shored up some depth on the offensive line, defensive line and linebacker. Those were key points in the class. We feel like we got that done.

[+] EnlargeClint Hurtt
AP Photo/Garry JonesRecruiting coordinator Clint Hurtt helped bring in another strong class highlighted by three four-star linebackers.
You signed three four-star linebackers in Nick Dawson, Keith Brown and James Burgess Jr. What is the biggest key to being able to reel in such high-profile players?

CH: The biggest thing is identifying right away kids physically who can help you early on. Some kids come in a little more advanced than others. If you have a position where you need a freshman or two to help you out, that is what you look for. Once you identify those kids, then there are a lot of things based on your numbers and how many guys you need to bring in to your position.

When did you know you had the makings of another solid class?

CH: A lot of that started happening the Sunday after Thanksgiving. We were able to get to the contact period and go into homes. When you get into their homes and you get a chance to sit down face to face -- the one thing Coach Strong always says going into homes and official visits, we have kids who have unbelievable families. We’ve got kids with a solid foundation, great character, integrity, and you can see why with the families we brought into the program. We knew about their ability. Obviously the thing you find out after is you want to find out what kind of personality they have, how driven are they, where do they come from? We feel we got a special, special class that we are so excited about.

You had to play a lot of freshmen last season. Will you have to do the same this season?

CH: Obviously we are bringing in a full class of 25. I'm sure there will be some kids who will have to redshirt coming in, but we don’t come in saying this is our plan. We'll let that be determined by how kids handle the transition. All kids want to come in and play but so much is how can they handle concepts coming in? We're going to have to still play some young guys. The program is still building. We're nowhere near set. We're still building our foundation. A lot of it is we had some success early and obviously some things are going really well. But we also understand there are a lot of things we have coming along. We played a lot of freshmen, but those kids will be sophomores. We only have 11 seniors and very few are featured contributors for us. We still have a lot of growth to do. We’re one more recruiting class away from saying we set the foundation for our football program and now we're pressing forward.

(Read full post)

NCAA asks to speak with Hurtt

August, 18, 2011
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The NCAA has asked to speak with Louisville assistant coach Clint Hurtt about allegations made against him during his time at the University of Miami.

Nevin Shapiro, a former Miami booster in prison for masterminding a $930 million Ponzi scheme, told Yahoo! Sports that Hurtt was a liaison between him and Miami recruits. Shapiro alleges he paid for dinners for Hurtt, players and recruits, and also loaned him money.

Louisville athletic director Tom Jurich said in a release: “We are aware of the Yahoo! Sports story and take these allegations very seriously. The NCAA has informed us that they wish to speak with Clint Hurtt regarding his time at the University of Miami, and we will cooperate fully throughout this process.”

Coach Charlie Strong told the Louisville Courier-Journal he had not read the Yahoo! Sports report, and did not think the allegations would be a distraction to his team.
"Whatever Tom says is the way that I’m going to react,” Strong said.

Hurtt was an assistant at Miami from 2007-09 and now serves as Louisville defensive line coach and recruiting coordinator.
Louisville assistant coach Clint Hurtt has been implicated in a Yahoo! Sports report alleging widespread NCAA rules violations at the University of Miami.

Nevin Shapiro, a former Miami booster serving time in prison for masterminding a $930 million Ponzi scheme, alleges that Hurtt was the liaison between himself and recruits coming to visit Miami while Hurtt was an assistant there. Among the allegations Shapiro has made:
  • Shapiro told federal agents in taped interviews that twice he paid for Hurtt to bring large groups of Hurricanes football recruits to a Miami Beach restaurant for dinner.
  • He also told federal agents that he provided Hurt with an interest-fee loan of $5,000 -- one $2,500 cash payment and one $2,500 check. Yahoo! Sports has a canceled $2,500 check, corroborating the claim.
  • Shapiro also alleges Hurtt arranged to bring three Miami recruits -- Andre Debose, Ray-Ray Armstrong and Dyron Dye -- to Shapiro’s Miami Beach mansion for a recruiting pitch. Shapiro claims Hurtt was there during the visit.

Louisville has declined comment on the allegations. Hurtt is entering his second year with the Cardinals and coaches the defensive line and serves as recruiting coordinator. Hurtt was at Miami -- his alma matter -- from 2006-2009 and helped bring in some of the top recruiting classes in the nation.

He did the same for Louisville in 2011, and was named recruiter of the year by ESPN.com.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Early on in his first spring practice as Louisville head coach last year, Charlie Strong had his players run a simple drill. A ball carrier and a defensive player entered the same 10-yard space and squared off one-on-one.

Over and over again during the drill, linebackers, safeties and corners whiffed on tackles while running backs juked them out of their shoes. If Strong didn't already shave his head, he would have pulled his hair out. Exasperated, he finally ended the exercise and just made the defensive players do push-ups.

After coming over from Florida, where he been a part of two national championships, Strong couldn't believe the state of the Cardinals program a year ago. Defensive coordinator Vance Bedford, who followed him from that Gators staff, told Strong, "You got me here. You lied to me. You got me good."

[+] EnlargeCharlie Strong
AP Photo/Tim LarsenCharlie Strong believes he has the Louisville program moving in the right direction.
"If you would have asked me a year ago at the end of spring ball, I would have said I don't know if we'll win one or two games," Strong said this week.

Louisville won seven games last year, including the Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl in its first postseason appearance in four seasons. Strong's peers rewarded him by voting him the co-Big East coach of the year.

Now about to enter his second spring as a head coach, Strong feels far better about the talent and accountability of the players in his program. Challenges, though, remain. This is still in many ways a rebuilding process, and Strong's ultimate goal of making Louisville a national title contender -- as it was in 2006 -- requires much more work.

"You have to up the ante," he said. "We got to seven wins [last season], now how many more wins can we go get? This program can't take a step backward. The foundation has been set, and now we need to continue to build upon it."

The unusual thing about Strong's rejuvenation effort in 2010 was that it was built on the backs of players who had suffered through three years of losing, not new faces brought in by the new staff. The Cardinals had a 25-man senior class last year that was willing to do whatever it took to get their first bowl game, and instead of naming a team captain whose true character he might not know that well, Strong told all 25 seniors to lead the way last spring. It's your job to make sure the team is ready for practice, he told them. It's your job to police behavior off campus.

That strategy paid off, but the flip side is that all those leaders are now gone. Louisville lost both quarterbacks who started last year (Adam Froman and Justin Burke), its star tailback (Bilal Powell), its two leading pass-catchers (Doug Beaumont and Cameron Graham), both starting cornerbacks (Johnny Patrick and Bobby Burns) and four-fifths of its dominating offensive line. The Cardinals now have fewer seniors (12) and juniors (10) on the current roster combined than last year's senior class.

"We're starting from scratch," Strong said. "It's a new team, a new challenge, new expectations. This team has to find its own identity."

The Cardinals may be young, but they clearly are setting themselves up for a future push. Strong and his staff assembled a top-25 recruiting class this year, according to ESPN.com, landing three ESPNU150 prospects and five four-star players, using their years of experience in Florida to pluck recruits out of the Sunshine State. That alone won't return Louisville to the top of the Big East or the national elite, but it's an awfully good start.

"We're probably two recruiting classes away," Strong said. "Next year will be very critical for us. We have some pieces we have to put together. Once we get all that together, then we'll have a chance."

They'll have a chance to land another star-studded class in 2012, because the staff returns nearly intact from last year. Bedford is a rising commodity who had several opportunities this offseason. Defensive line coach Clint Hurtt, who was named ESPN.com's recruiter of the year last month, interviewed for the same position at Auburn. Strong said when Hurtt left for his interview, he thought to himself, "Well, I've got to go find another coach." But Hurtt said no to the defending BCS champs.

"When Clint made that statement he made, it just shows that guys are saying, 'Hey, we're willing to sacrifice and stay here to make sure this program is heading in the right direction,'" Strong said.

There's almost no doubt that Louisville is going the right way now. Which is a whole lot more than Strong could have said at this time a year ago.

Clint Hurtt to stay at Louisville

February, 24, 2011
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ESPN.com's national recruiter of the year is staying put at Louisville.

Reports surfaced on Wednesday that Clint Hurtt was interviewing for the vacant defensive line position at Auburn. But Hurtt will be back with the Cardinals for 2011.

Louisville head coach Charlie Strong announced it on his official Twitter feed Thursday, saying: "Big news!! The big hurtt is staying with the cardinals."

It's not known yet whether Hurtt was offered the job at Auburn. Minnesota assistant Tim Cross was also considered a leading candidate.

Strong has managed to keep his staff intact except for the loss of quarterbacks coach Mike Groh, who went to Alabama. If the Cardinals continue to have success, then guys such as Hurtt, defensive coordinator Vance Bedford and even Strong himself will be in high demand.
Other schools get more attention. But nobody got more out of the recruiting trail than Louisville's Clint Hurtt.

[+] EnlargeClint Hurtt
AP Photo/Garry JonesLouisville defensive line coach Clint Hurtt made an impact off the field.
That's the opinion of ESPN.com's recruiting experts, who named the Cardinals' defensive line coach and recruiting coordinator as the top recruiter in the nation on Wednesday.

Hurtt, who was Miami's recruiting coordinator before joining Charlie Strong last year, was instrumental in helping Louisville land 10 players from South Florida this year, including ESPNU150 players Teddy Bridgewater, Gerod Holliman and Eli Rogers.
"It's something I didn't expect, but it's a great honor and something I am very proud of," Hurtt said of the award. "I think the biggest reason why I had success this season was that these families were very comfortable with me. It's about creating those relationships and building trust."

Strong praised Hurtt for his ability as both a coach and a recruiter who can relate to players.
"We succeeded in recruiting because of people like him," Strong said. "Recruiting is the bloodline of our program. We have to turn it around. Teddy and this class starts the whole ball rolling. We can't get complacent. Everyone will do a better job against us. We have made people take notice of Louisville."

Hurtt was the only Big East coach to be named to ESPN.com's list of the Top 25 recruiters of the year.

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