Nov. 2, 2017
As Glenn and Stacey Murphy Head Men’s Basketball Coach Mike Brey closes in on the all-time record for coaching wins at the University of Notre Dame, Fighting Irish Media will be highlighting 18 of the top moments from the Mike Brey era.
Fans can follow along all year via the hashtag #Breyteen – celebrating Coach Brey’s 18th season at Notre Dame in 2017-18. Fans also will be able to monitor and celebrate Coach Brey’s run to the record – 12 wins will set the all-time mark – with the hashtag #BreysChase. More details will be released during the course of the season as to how fans and alumni can participate.
For our first #Breyteen moment (which will be presented in random order this season) we look back at the first Sweet 16 team for Mike Brey at Notre Dame…
Sweet Notre Dame Ending For Dan Miller
Transfer helps secure the first NCAA Sweet 16 appearance of the Brey era.
It was an unusual college basketball decision for Dan Miller. A key member of the 2001 Final Four team at the University of Maryland, Miller transferred to Notre Dame with just a single season of eligibility remaining.
He sat out the 2001-02 season, a fourth season of college basketball where a player usually hits his peak, waiting for his final year with the Fighting Irish. If Miller played college basketball today, he might have been a graduate transfer who could have played immediately at his next school. But in 2001, the decision Miller made was not a common one.
It wasn’t an unfamiliar one to his new head coach Mike Brey, who made the same decision during his collegiate career. Brey played his first three seasons at Northwestern State in Natchitoches, Louisiana. He amassed 311 assists with the Demons, but a coaching change before his senior season prompted a transfer back to his hometown area and George Washington University for the 1981-82 campaign.
Brey served as a team captain in his lone season at GW, as would Miller in his final year at Notre Dame.
Miller experienced one of the best seasons of the Brey era in 2002-03, first helping the Irish win the 2002 BB&T Classic in Washington, D.C. (a run that included a victory over Maryland), then saving his best Notre Dame performance for college basketball’s biggest stage.
Illinois’ Brian Cook, Dee Brown and Deron Williams all eventually played in the National Basketball Association, but it was Miller and Notre Dame who got the best of the Big Ten Champion Illini in the second round of the NCAA Championship.
Miller drilled his first five 3-point field goal attempts and the Irish combined to hit an NCAA-team record 13 three pointers to dispatch Illinois 68-60 and advance to the regional semifinal for the first time in 16 years.
“This is huge for our program,” Brey said. “In the summer we talked about playing on the second weekend. I’m happy this group set a goal and achieved it.”
The Irish achieved that goal with some help from Miller’s unusual transfer, following a path set by his head coach 20 years earlier.
Alan Wasielewski is an Associate Athletics Communication Director at the University of Notre Dame. He works primarily with the men’s basketball and rowing team. A 2000 graduate of the University, Wasielewski is entering his 16th year at Notre Dame, working in both the multimedia productions and athletics communications offices in his time on campus.