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Irish To Play At Howard On Martin Luther King Jr. Day

The University of Notre Dame men’s basketball team will travel to Washington, D.C., on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, January 18, 2021, to face Howard University. The trip will mark the first road game for Notre Dame men’s basketball against one of the countries Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

“We have been looking for the best way to fulfill our game contract with Howard and this seemed like the perfect fit,” Glenn and Stacey Murphy Head Men’s Basketball Coach Mike Brey said.

“As our program searched for the best way to remain active participants in the push for social change, a visit to one of our nation’s top HBCUs on Martin Luther King Jr. Day will provide an incredible educational experience for our student-athletes, coaches, support staff and university.”

The game will be played at Howard’s Burr Gymnasium. Tipoff time and game broadcast details will be announced at a later date.  

Notre Dame and Howard are also announcing a joint initiative to support When We All Vote, a non-profit, nonpartisan organization that is on a mission to increase participation in every election and close the race and age voting gap by changing the culture around voting, harnessing grassroots energy, and through strategic partnerships to reach every American.

Leading up to the 2020 election, Notre Dame and Howard will help support When We All Vote’s goal to change the culture around voting using a data-driven and multifaceted approach to increase participation in elections.

Since 2019, Howard ​has honored Dr. King’s Celebration of Excellence by hosting non conference contests with iconic, historical institutions. In the past two seasons, HU has greeted Ivy League perennials Harvard (2019) and Yale (2020) to The Burr.

“We are honored to welcome Notre Dame to Howard University for our annual MLK Day game,” ​Howard head coach Kenny ​Blakeney stated. 

“Coach Mike Brey and I are brothers!  We were both mentored by one of the best educators, Coach Morgan Wootten at DeMatha Catholic H.S., who considered himself a teacher first. We understand that this game is bigger than both universities and I feel that we have a social and civic responsibility to engage our programs in celebrating Dr. King’s birthday.”

The connections between Notre Dame men’s basketball, the Howard coaching staff and the Washington, DC, area run deep. Mike Brey and associate head coach Rod Balanis have roots in the DMV area and both graduated from DeMatha High School. Kenny Blakeney also is a DeMatha graduate, played at Duke (1992-95) while Mike Brey was an assistant with the Blue Devils and was the head assistant coach under Brey at Delaware (2002-05). Former Notre Dame video coordinator and three-time team captain Eric Atkins is in his second year as an assistant on the Howard coaching staff.

The game also marks the return to the D.C. area for rising Irish junior Prentiss Hubb (Upper Marlboro), who graduated from Gonzaga High School. Hubb is the latest Notre Dame stand out to call the Washington, D.C., area home, as the ‘D.C. Pipeline’ has included Austin Carr, Adrian Dantley, Jerian Grant, Bob Whitmore, Don Williams, Monty Williams, Collis Jones, Tracy Jackson, Tom Sluby, Sid Catlett and Notre Dame President Emeritus Rev. Edward A. Malloy, C.S.C.

Notre Dame has welcomed 10 different HBCUs to campus for 12 men’s basketball games throughout the program’s history. The trip to Howard will be the first road trip for the Irish to an HBCU and the first for an Atlantic Coast Conference team since Miami (Florida) played at Savannah State on December 19, 2013.

The contest marks the first against a Power Five Conference team for Howard at home since Oregon State visited Burr Gymnasium on November 27, 2010.