Oct. 25, 2004
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – University of Notre Dame head coach Mike Brey has signed a two-year contract extension to continue as coach of the Fighting Irish men’s basketball program through the 2010-11 campaign.
Brey, who begins his fifth season at the Irish helm in 2004-05, signed an original seven-year contract when he was hired on July 14, 2000, as Notre Dame’s 17th head men’s basketball coach. He signed a two-year extension in July 2002 – and now adds two more seasons to that commitment.
In four seasons with the Irish, Brey has compiled an 84-44 record for a .659 winning percentage. A 17-year veteran of the college ranks as both an assistant at Duke (1987-95) and head coach at Delaware, he has led Irish teams to four consecutive postseason appearances (three NCAA, one National Invitation Tournament) and three 20-win seasons. Notre Dame earned NCAA tournament berths in Brey’s first three seasons, advancing to the second round in both 2001 and ’02 and then to the Sweet 16 in 2003. That ’03 NCAA Sweet 16 appearance marked the first by an Irish team since 1987. In ’04, Brey guided the Irish to the third round of the NIT.
“Simply speaking, Mike Brey has done a brilliant job leading Notre Dame basketball back to national prominence,” said Notre Dame athletics director Kevin White.
“Mike represents the perfect Notre Dame fit. He is truly a gifted educator, who enjoys the distinct ability to impart life lessons through his chosen profession.
“Without question, Mike is quickly becoming one of the elite players within the college basketball community. We are extremely excited that he will continue to lead our program.”
“Once again, I want to emphasize how honored I am to teach at this very special place,” said Brey. “The commitment from our administration makes me a more confident basketball coach. Our program has great momentum, and I am excited about moving it forward into a new phase as the BIG EAST becomes the best basketball conference in America.”
Brey is the only coach in the program’s 99-year history to lead his first three teams to consecutive 20-win seasons and NCAA tournament berths. In nine seasons as a head coach, he has registered a 184-96 mark, good for a .657 winning percentage. Five of his nine teams have advanced to NCAA tournament competition and seven have earned postseason berths overall (two NIT). In six of the last seven years, his squads have won 20 or more games.
Brey has been instrumental in Notre Dame’s success in the BIG EAST Conference over the past four years. Since his arrival, his Irish teams have recorded a 40-24 (.625) regular-season record in league play. Prior to Brey becoming head coach, Notre Dame teams had a 39-53 (.398) mark in regular-season conference games.
Notre Dame won at least 10 BIG EAST regular-season games in each of his first three seasons and was 9-7 in 2003-04. Although the Irish a year ago fell one victory short of recording their fourth consecutive 10-win season in league play, they, along with Syracuse, own the distinction of being the only two BIG EAST schools to post winning records in conference regular-season games each of the last four years.
Brey was named the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) District 10 Coach of the Year in 2003 after guiding Notre Dame to its first NCAA Sweet 16 appearance in 16 years. The Irish finished with a 24-10 overall mark and were 10-6 in league play that season. In addition, Brey’s squad defeated a school-record five top-10 opponents, the most by any Division I school in ’02-’03.
In his first season, he guided the Irish to a 20-10 record and program’s first BIG EAST regular-season title, as Notre Dame captured the West Division crown with an 11-5 record, the most conference wins for the Irish since joining the league in 1995-96. The Irish finished 19th in the final Associated Press ranking (and were ranked as high as 10th at one time of the season), their first rankings since’89.
During the 2001-02 campaign, the Irish finished with a 22-11 record and 10-6 mark in the West Division, good for second place in the final regular-season standings. Notre Dame earned a first-round bye in the conference’s postseason tournament and advanced to the semifinals of the BIG EAST championship for the first time after posting its first-ever victory in the quarterfinal round.
In ’03-’04, the Irish faced one of the nation’s toughest schedules and finished with a 19-13 record and 9-7 mark in BIG EAST play. Among the highlights of the campaign were wins over 2004 NCAA champion Connecticut and 2003 national champion Syracuse.
Under Brey, Notre Dame has produced two first-round NBA draft picks. Ryan Humphrey, a second-team All-American selection by Basketball News, was chosen as the 19th pick overall in 2002, which followed two-time consensus All-American Troy Murphy’s 14th overall selection in 2001. Murphy was the BIG EAST Co-Player of the Year in Brey’s first season.
In each of his four seasons, Irish players have been selected for all-BIG EAST honors. Three players – Murphy (’01), Humphrey (’02) and Matt Carroll (’03) – were first-team honorees, while Chris Thomas, the ’02 BIG EAST Rookie of the Year and National Freshman of the Year by Basketball Times and Basketball News, has been a second-team all-conference selection each of the past two years after earning third-team honors in his rookie season. Notre Dame’s BIG EAST honorable mention selections have included David Graves in’02 and Torin Francis in ’04. Francis also was named to the league’s all-rookie team as a freshman in ’03.
A Rockville, Md., native and 1982 graduate of George Washington University, Brey played and coached at DeMatha (Md.) High School under legendary mentor Morgan Wootten. Following a five-year assistant coaching stint at DeMatha, Brey spent eight seasons as an assistant to Mike Krzyzewski at Duke, helping lead the Blue Devils to six NCAA Final Fours and two national championships (’91 and ’92) during that period.
Brey’s first head coaching stint was at Delaware where he compiled a 99-52 record during his five seasons at the Newark, Del., school and helped his teams to two NCAA tournament appearances (’98 and ’99) as well as regular-season and tournament titles in those same seasons.