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Culture > Entertainment

Superstitions: A Key To UConn Basketball’s Success

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at U Conn chapter.

Over the past year, the University of Connecticut’s men’s basketball team has displayed dominance by winning the NCAA championship in 2023, and now the Big East tournament in 2024. There is no doubt their winning ways are the result of a ton of hard work, however, there may also be a few superstitions helping them as well…

exactly eight m&ms

Before every game head coach Dan Hurley eats exactly eight M&M’s. The exception is if any of the M&M’s he pulls out are the team colors of the opposite team he will not eat them. If for some reason the opposite team’s colors are colors that M&M’s are not, such as pink, Coach Hurley will not eat any of the colors that make up the other team’s colors (so in the example of pink he would not eat any red ones).

Underwear, hat, shirt… all the clothing

It has also come out that at every game Coach Hurley wears pretty much the same outfit: down to the underwear. Since UConn’s first-round win in the NCAA tournament last year, Coach Hurley has worn his red dragon boxers to every game. The outfit repeating has gotten so bad that his wife has started traveling with a portable washing machine everywhere they go to make sure everything is clean and ready to go in the event of back-to-back games.

The Cardboard trophy

A hybrid of manifestation and superstition: the cardboard trophy. Sitting in the center of every practice is a cardboard picture of the trophy the team is currently vying for. If the team travels, the cardboard trophy comes with. As you can imagine, by the end of the season the piece of cardboard is a little banged up, however, it has become an integral part of the team’s routine.

Mushroom Coffee?

If you have not picked up on it at this point — Dan Hurley is the king of superstitions. His drink of choice is mushroom coffee. This may or may not come as a surprise if you’ve seen the way he jumps up and down, yells, and expresses every emotion possible on the sidelines during a UConn game. Coach Hurley credits the mushroom’s “superfood powers” with some of his success and mental clarity. In various interviews, players have laughed about moments when the coffee spills and Coach Hurley loses all focus on the game until someone is able to bring him a new cup.

Leave the Door Cracked

In a recent interview, UConn transfer Cam Spencer reflects on the fact that he was never superstitious before arriving at UConn. Now, Cam has superstitions galore, with one being with his road trip roommate Alex Karaban. At every hotel they check into Alex has to walk into the room first, and wait for the door to completely shut. Then Cam will knock on the door and say, “Hey, why didn’t you leave the door cracked for me.” Then, and only then, will Cam enter the room.

Jonathan Statue

The UConn student body is not immune to superstitions either. The Jonathan the Husky statue, UConn’s mascot, is the epitome of superstition on campus. The superstition goes that rubbing the statue’s nose and ears of the statue provides good luck on midterms and finals. Given the statue is located right outside of Gample Pavilion, home of UConn basketball, before any big game you will certainly see students giving the statue a little rub on their way into the stadium for some extra good luck.

Whatever it takes

As the UConn men’s basketball team continues their run in March, keep an eye out for Coach Hurley’s M&M’s and coffee on the sidelines or the cardboard trophy in the corner of the room. Who knows, as the season unfolds new superstitions may come out — Coach Hurley’s son and UConn player, Andrew Hurley, has alluded to there being many more superstitions that the public doesn’t know about. As a student at UConn, my philosophy is to do whatever it takes for the team to continue their winning ways!

Abby is a junior at the University of Connecticut majoring in American Studies and English with a concentration in anti-racism and social justice. Abby enjoys writing about music, sports, and her personal experiences. On campus, she is the co-captain of the equestrian team and a mentor for undecided students. Abby also works as a campus tour guide for visiting high school students. In her free time, Abby enjoys going for walks at sunset, listening to music - especially Taylor Swift, and watching dating shows with friends.