June 17, 2003
By Cory Walton
The date June 2 was a homecoming at the University of Notre Dame, though not in the traditional sense of the word. All of the usual festivities of a homecoming celebration were absent. There was, however, an audible buzz. It originated in the men’s basketball office and slowly worked its way to the rest of the Joyce Center. At first it wasn’t more than a whisper, but as the day went on, the buzz became louder and the message more clear. Martin Ingelsby had come back to Notre Dame.
Notre Dame fans remember Ingelsby as a three-year starter at the point for the Irish, and as the floor general of the Irish team that made the NCAA tournament for the first time in 11 years during the 2000-01 campaign. Those same fans now have to get used to seeing Ingelsby in a new position – coordinator of basketball operations.
The Philadelphia-area native was head coach Mike Brey’s choice to replace Rod Balanis as coordinator of basketball operations after Balanis was promoted to an assistant coach on Brey’s staff.
“After Coach Solomon left, I spoke with Coach Brey. He invited me to join his staff,” Ingelsby says.
Prior to that invitation, Ingelsby served as a graduate assistant at Wagner College in Staten Island, N.Y.
“Basically, I was able to do everything that an assistant coach does,” Ingelsby says.
“I recruited a little bit, and was able to be on the court teaching during practice. I also ran some individual workouts.”
While at Wagner, Ingelsby lived on campus while taking classes toward a master’s degree.
The wheels that led Ingelsby into the coaching profession were set into motion during the late 90’s when the soon-to-be college freshman committed to play basketball at Notre Dame.
“I was a huge football fan growing up, so I knew about Notre Dame, even though I didn’t know much about the basketball program,” Ingelsby says.
“John MacLeod was the coach then, and from the very first day I received a letter from Notre Dame, it just stood out above all the others. One of the biggest things is that it’s a great academic institution, and a great athletic one as well. It had everything I wanted in a college. I went to Catholic school growing up and it doesn’t get much better than Notre Dame.”
Since returning to his alma mater from his stint at Wagner, Ingelsby says he realizes just how good things actually are at Notre Dame.
“There is definitely a difference in the style of basketball and the level of play, coming from Notre Dame where you play in the BIG EAST and then going to a school that is a smaller Division I institution. You get a perspective of what other schools go through.”
While playing basketball at such a high level, Ingelsby developed certain intangibles he thinks can be applied to his job as coordinator of basketball operations.
“One of the big things is being able to talk to the players on the team and helping them out any way I can by teaching them what I have learned,” Ingelsby says.
“It is important to help out the younger guys and show the freshman the ropes by teaching them what they need to do to be successful here.
“Time management is also important. You need to have a plan about what you want to do and when you want to do it. It’s important to have a regimen.”
The coordinator of basketball operations title provides Ingelsby with just that, a regimen of daily activities. He has several basketball camp-related responsibilities in the summer, including personnel and equipment matters. During the season, Ingelsby anticipates a typical day to include a morning meeting with Brey and the rest of the staff, afternoons spent on his game-tape duties, as well as practices and games.
“I’ll have to wait until the season starts to fully experience what the job is like,” he says. One exciting thing Ingelsby will now experience is working with the coach who gave him the reins to lead the Irish shortly after being hired in 2000.
“Coach Brey has made the transition easy by being a down-to-earth guy. He was a point guard when he played, so we both have that knowledge and knack,” he says.
“My relationship with him started on day one. He flew to my house and we went out to dinner, talked basketball and got to know each other. Our relationship has grown over the years, and that is probably one of the reasons he brought me back.”
Ingelsby, who averaged 4.8 points and 6.3 assists per game during his Irish career, is officially back at his alma mater, which is something he is happy about.
“I’m excited to be part of the Notre Dame family again,” he says.
He’s not the only one.