June 19, 2012
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Mike Brey, the third all-time winningest coach in Notre Dame basketball history and currently the third-longest tenured coach in the BIG EAST Conference, has agreed to terms on a new 10-year contract that will take the veteran coach through the 2021-22 campaign. The announcement was made Tuesday by vice president and director of athletics Jack Swarbrick.
The new deal is effective July 1, 2012, and will run through June 30, 2022.
“Mike Brey epitomizes all that a university like ours hopes for in a coach,” Swarbrick says. “He has built a winning program without ever compromising his values, and he develops players both on and off the court as well as anyone in the country.
“Mike is a true coach-educator. The genuine and unique relationships that he has with his players, our community and his colleagues in college basketball have built a great foundation for the future of our basketball program. This new contract, and particularly its length, is a reflection of our commitment to Mike and his commitment to Notre Dame.”
“As I have said on many occasions throughout my time here at Notre Dame, I am both honored and humbled to be the head coach at this very special place,” Brey says. “When I took the job here nearly 13 years ago, I felt that this could be a place where I could retire from coaching. With the terms of this new contract, I certainly intend for it to be my last coaching stop.
“It has been a privilege and honor to have coached the young men who have come through our basketball family; they have shown a great trust and belief in me and helped me lead this program. More importantly, they have been terrific representatives of Notre Dame both on and off the court. I sincerely want to thank Notre Dame president Father John Jenkins and Jack Swarbrick for their unwavering support and commitment to our program and me. I am excited and thrilled about the future, direction and momentum of our basketball program and love the tradition that we have established and built here.”
Brey, who is set to begin his 13th campaign along the Irish sidelines after being named head coach in July of 2000, owns a 260-132 (.663) record at Notre Dame and is 359-184 (.661) overall in 17 seasons as a head coach. The three-time BIG EAST Coach of the Year (2007, 2008, 2011) has guided Notre Dame to eight NCAA tournament berths and postseason appearances in each of his 12 seasons. His 2003 squad became the first Irish team since 1987 to advance to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament, while his inaugural 2000-01 squad won the BIG EAST West Division regular-season crown.
Widely respected by his coaching peers, Brey was the recipient of the Henry Iba Coach of the Year Award (annually presented by the U.S. Basketball Writers Association) and the Associated Press National Coach of the Year in 2011 after leading his Irish team to a record-setting campaign in 2010-11 in which Notre Dame finished with a 27-7 record (the most wins in the modern era) and a 14-4 BIG EAST ledger (matching the best regular-season league record in program history). Notre Dame finished fifth in the final AP ranking, its highest finish ever under Brey, and first top-10 finish since 1981 when that Irish squad ended the year seventh in the AP poll.
While ’10-’11 may have been the best season for a Notre Dame team in terms of success, the recent 2011-12 campaign truly epitomized the level of consistency that Brey has established within the program as it was widely regarded as the best coaching effort of his career.
The Irish became one of the pleasant surprise stories nationally considering the youth of the team and the circumstances of the season. Following the departure of three starters, the Irish chances of an NCAA tournament return were dealt a severe blow when preseason first-team all-BIG EAST selection Tim Abromaitis tore his ACL in late November and was sidelined for the remainder of the season. Notre Dame, however, recorded its third consecutive 20-win season and earned a berth in the NCAA tournament for a third straight year as Brey guided the Irish to a 22-12 record and third-place finish in the final BIG EAST regular-season standings with a 13-5 mark (the third-most conference wins since joining the league in 1995-96) after the Irish were picked to finish ninth in the league’s preseason poll.
Notre Dame headed into the conference season with an 8-5 record, and following its first six league contests, the Irish were 11-8 overall and 3-3 in BIG EAST play. Brey’s squad stunned the college basketball world when Notre Dame knocked off top-ranked and undefeated Syracuse, at Purcell Pavilion at the Joyce Center. The victory was the first of a record nine-game BIG EAST wins streak that saw the Irish climb to as high as 18th in the ESPN/USA Today rankings and also earned Brey his 250th career win as Notre Dame’s head coach. Named the recipient of the Jim Phelan National Coach of the Year Award, he also has led the Irish to the semifinals of the BIG EAST Championship each of the last three years. Notre Dame is the only conference team to play in the league’s semifinals in ’10, ’11 and ’12.
In 12 seasons, Brey’s teams have posted nine 20-win campaigns, including six straight, and have won 10 or more BIG EAST regular-season games on eight occasions. The last time an Irish team won 20 or more games in six consecutive seasons was from 1983-89 under former head coach Digger Phelps. The Irish have produced a winning record in BIG EAST play 10 times overall in the Brey era.
Heading into the 2012-13 campaign, Brey stands fifth overall in BIG EAST history in all-time wins. His 133-89 (.599) record that includes both regular-season and tournament victories places him behind just Jim Boeheim of Syracuse (402), Jim Calhoun of Connecticut (312), John Thompson of Georgetown (231) and Lou Carnesecca of St. John’s (139). Prior to Brey becoming the head coach at Notre Dame, Irish teams had posted just a 35-53 (.398) mark in league play from 1995-2000. Since Brey’s first season in 2000-01, he has guided the Irish to a 125-77 mark (.619) in conference regular-season play.
Over the past six seasons, Notre Dame has turned in an impressive 70-36 (.660) mark in BIG EAST regular-season play. That figure ties the Irish with Pittsburgh for the third-best mark in the league during that time. Brey and the Irish have posted an impressive 31-9 (.775) record over its last 40 BIG EAST regular-season contests, including a 24-6 (.800) mark.
In March 2011 when he was awarded the BIG EAST coach-of-the-year honor for the third time in five years, Brey became just the fifth coach in league history to win the award on three or more occasions. When he earned the conference’s top honor in back-to-back years in’07 and ’08, he became just the third coach in BIG EAST history to win the award in consecutive seasons.
Since the 2006-07 campaign, Brey has helped orchestrate one of the most dominant and impressive records at home nationally. Over the course of the past six seasons, the Irish are 100-7 (.935), the third-best winning percentage in the nation, and top the BIG EAST with a 47-6 (.887) home record over that same time period. From 2006-11, Notre Dame recorded three undefeated campaigns at Purcell Pavilion. The Irish registered a 45-game home win streak, the longest in school history from March 2006 until Jan. 2009, that included back-to-back undefeated campaigns during the ’06-’07 and ’07-’08 campaigns. In those two seasons, Notre Dame finished 18-0 and 17-0, respectively, to become the first team in BIG EAST history to notch back-to-back undefeated campaigns. It also marked the first time that an Irish team was unbeaten at home in consecutive seasons.
The Irish posted their third unblemished record at home in five seasons after finishing with a 17-0 mark in ’10-’11. Only Notre Dame and Kansas have gone undefeated at home in three of the last six seasons.
As successful as the Irish have been on the court, Brey also has fostered an environment of success and achievement in the classroom. In the NCAA’s announcement on June 14 acknowledging Academic Progress Rate public recognition awards, the Notre Dame basketball program was honored for the fourth straight year for having a multi-year APR score that ranked in the top 10 percent of all Division I basketball programs. Brey also has mentored two first-team Academic All-Americans — Chris Quinn (’06) and Abromaitis (’10 and ’11). Abromaitis also was the first-ever three-time recipient of the BIG EAST Men’s Scholar Athlete Award in March.
Brey’s 260 wins at Notre Dame are third behind Phelps (393-197 form 1971-91) and George Keogan (327-97 from 1923-43).
— ND —