Notre Dame coach Mike Brey stepping down at end of season

Notre Dame coach Mike Brey stepping down at end of season

Mike Brey needed just one season to transform Notre Dame from a forgotten program into an NCAA Tournament team.

He spent the next 22 seasons chasing the school’s second Final Four appearance, and this season will be his last chance.

On Thursday, Notre Dame announced Brey would retire at the end of the season after winning a school-record 481 games and leading the program for a school-record 23 years. In a statement, sporting director Jack Swarbrick said Brey would remain on the staff in an as yet undefined capacity.

“It’s been a great ride for me and our program over the past two decades, but it’s time for a new voice to lead this group into the future,” Brey, 63, said in a statement released by the ‘Athletics. department. “I want to thank our student-athletes, assistant coaches and support staff who have played such an important role in the culture we have created. »

Notre Dame has scheduled a press conference for Friday.

Notre Dame coach Mike BreyAP

Brey left Delaware in July 2000 after taking the Blue Hens to two NCAA tournaments in three seasons – something that seemed little more than an afterthought in South Bend, given that in the nine seasons following Digger Phelps’ retirement in 1991, Notre Dame was once blue. The chip program had been kicked out of the NCAA Tournament and had only won three NIT bids.

But the man who served as an assistant under America’s best-known prep coach — Morgan Wootten at DeMatha High School in Maryland — and under Division I’s most winning varsity coach, Mike Krzyzewski, has helped Our Dame to return to her most glorious days.

Notre Dame ended a 10-year tournament drought in 2001 and made 13 total tournament appearances under Brey. He won 15 tournament matches, tying the school record, and Notre Dame reached back-to-back Elite Eights in 2015 and 2016.

“The fact that Mike is the winningest coach in Notre Dame’s 119-year men’s basketball history is a testament to his skills as a teacher of the game,” Swarbrick said. “His even greater legacy, however, lies in his accomplishments as an educator and mentor to the young men who played for him. In that sense, he represents this university as well as any coach I have worked with during my time there. at Notre Dame.

Mike Brey celebrates with his Notre Dame players after their victory over Jacksonville earlier in the season.Getty Images

Brey was more than a basketball coach.

He became a well-respected member of the community where his children went to school and became a popular figure on campus, although he was overshadowed by the school’s larger football program and sometimes by the powerful women’s basketball and baseball teams.

But Brey excelled on the pitch, turning the Irish into title contenders in two different conferences.

He was named Big East Coach of the Year three times and won 146 conference games, which still ranks him fifth all-time in the league. In 2011, Brey was named Associated Press Coach of the Year after leading the Irish to a 27-7 mark and a 17-0 home record.

Notre Dame moved to the Atlantic Coast Conference in 2013 and two years later Brey won the conference tournament title by defeating Miami, Duke and North Carolina in a 32-6 campaign. The Irish returned to the 2016 ACC Tournament Semifinals and 2017 ACC Championship Game and seven of Brey’s players were NBA draft picks.

But lately it has been more difficult for Brey and the Irish. After going 24-11 and ending a five-year tournament drought last season, the Irish are 9-10 for a 1-7 start in ACC play. Chants of “Fire Brey” could be heard during games last year, which Brey sometimes said was justified due to the team’s poor performance.

“Mike and I have spoken often over the past few years about a future transition in program leadership,” Swarbrick said. “During our last conversation, we came to the mutual conclusion that the end of this season was the right time.”

Brey is 580-321 overall and ranks 50th on the Division I career wins list. He has a 481-269 record with Notre Dame, a win total that ranks sixth among active coaches. in their current schools. Brey played college basketball at Northwestern State in Louisiana and George Washington.

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