UConn Adds Kimani Young to Men’s Basketball Staff

UConn men’s basketball head coach Dan Hurley has announced the addition of Kimani Young to his staff as an assistant coach.

Originally from Queens, N.Y., Young has been at the University of Minnesota as an assistant coach on the staff of Richard Pitino for the last five years and was also on staff with Pitino at Florida International for a year prior to that. Previously, his entire professional career took place in the New York metropolitan area.

“I think Kimani will be a great fit at UConn,” Hurley said. “He’s a high-energy guy with a tremendous work ethic and a tremendous amount of basketball knowledge. He’s got some of the best relationships in the metropolitan area, which I think will be invaluable at a place like UConn. He’s just incredibly well-liked and well-respected throughout our profession. I’m very excited that he’s decided to join our staff.”

Young, 44, played his college basketball at Texas-El Paso for Hall of Fame coach Don Haskins, graduating in 1998 with over 1,000 points scored and a degree in criminal justice. He returned home to pursue his passion of helping young people, working as a program director for the Aim High Foundation, a coach for Big Apple Basketball, Inc., and a rec assistant for Kaplan House, a facility for young men in foster homes. He worked for the Police Athletic League of New York and served two stints as athletic director of New Heights Youth, Inc. In 2008-2009, he squeezed in a year as head manager/video coordinator for St. John’s.

“I’ve known Kimani for years,” Hurley said. “We both spent a good part of our careers in the New York-New Jersey metropolitan area in the grassroots of high school and AAU basketball. We developed a friendship that continued to build when we both in a similar timeline moved into the college game. I’ve admired the work he’s been able to do at St. John’s, Florida International, and Minnesota.”

It was through his work with New York youth basketball and AAU circles that Young formed his relationship with Hurley as well as Pitino, which led to the start of his college coaching career. When Pitino became the head coach at Florida International in 2012, he asked Young to be on his staff and he also asked Young to join him when Pitino took over at Minnesota in 2013.

“My relationship with Danny started back when he was a high school coach and I was an AAU coach in New York,” Young said. “We just bounced around the same circles .. kids that I coached in my AAU program played for his dad (Bob Sr.) at St. Anthony’s. The New York-New Jersey basketball community is very small and tight-knit and we just developed a mutual respect and admiration for each other.”

The chance to coach with Hurley and coach at UConn, closer to his hometown, was simply too hard to resist.

“I just think it was the total package of being close to home, being in a region where I can really bring value in terms of my relationships, and my connections in that area,” Young said. “I believe in the brand of UConn basketball — it’s a national brand, it’s a championship brand, and I just thought the opportunity to get in on the ground level with Danny, to help the rebirth of UConn basketball, is just something I couldn’t turn down.”

Growing up in New York and playing college basketball in the 1990s, Young became extremely familiar with UConn basketball.

“I grew up following UConn basketball as a Big East fan,” he said. “It’s a place where kids growing up in the Northeast wanted to go to school and play basketball. It obviously has a tremendous fan base.

“Whenever you take on a new job, there’s a hunger that comes with that … a hunger to recruit, a hunger to coach, a hunger to succeed and I think when you walk into a new situation like that, with a young coach like Danny, it’s motivating. It’ll be a challenge, but when we do what we’re expected to do, this place will be awesome again.”


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