Mike Brey's Irish head into the NCAA tournament with the program's best seed since 1981.

Mike Brey One Of Four Finalists For Naismith Coach Of The Year Honor

March 16, 2011

NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Notre Dame’s basketball coach Mike Brey, the 2011 BIG EAST Coach of the Year, has been named one of four finalists for the Naismith Coach of the Year, it was announced today (March 16) by the Atlanta Tipoff Club. Brey, along with Steve Fischer of San Diego State, Dave Rose of BYU and Thad Matta of Ohio State comprise the final ballot for the prestigious award that is presented annually to the nation’s top collegiate basketball coach. The announcement of the winner will be made in early April.

Each of the four finalists would be a first-time recipient of the award. The selection of the final four was determined by the Atlanta Tipoff’s Club National Voting Academy, comprised of leading basketball journalists, coaches and administrators from around the country. The academy based its criteria on coaching performances this season. The vote was tabulated and certified by the accounting firm of Habif, Arogeti & Wynne, LLP. HA&W is the largest independent accounting firm in Georgia and one of the top 50 firms in the United States.

Brey, who has won the BIG EAST coach-of-the-year honor three times in the last five seasons, has guided the Irish to seven NCAA tournament appearances in his 11 seasons along the sidelines. Seeded second overall in the Southwest Region, Notre Dame enters the 2011 NCAA Championship with its highest seed since 1981.

Brey has engineered one of the greatest coaching efforts in program history. Currently, 26-6 overall, the Irish finished second in the final BIG EAST regular-season standings with a 14-4 mark. The win-total matched the most conference regular-season victories for a Notre Dame team since joining the BIG EAST in 1995-96 as the 2007-08 squad also posted the same 14-4 ledger. The Irish advanced to the semifinals of the BIG EAST Championship for the second consecutive year this season before dropping an 83-77 overtime to decision to Louisville.

The 26 wins are the most ever for a Notre Dame team under Brey and the most since the 1973-74 campaign when that Irish team finished with a 26-3 record. Notre Dame posted its fifth consecutive 20-win season under Brey in 2010-11 and its eighth overall during his coaching tenure.

Notre Dame opens up NCAA tournament action on Friday afternoon (March 18) at 1:40 p.m. (ET)/12:40 (CT) when the Irish face the Akron at the United Center in Chicago, Ill. It will mark the third-ever meeting between the two schools.