The Fighting Irish Men's Basketball team was victorious over DePaul on February 11th at the Purcell Pavilion.
Only one person has been with Mike Brey since he was named Notre Dame's head basketball coach in July 2000, and that's Rod Balanis. Beginning his 14th season as a member of the Fighting Irish coaching staff, no individual has been more loyal and understands better the model of consistency that Brey has built on the hardwood at Notre Dame than Balanis.
Balanis was one of Brey's first hires when he accepted the job in July 2000 as coordinator of men's basketball operations. Following three seasons in that position, Balanis was promoted to assistant coach in May 2003.
Balanis is in his fifth season overseeing the development of the Irish frontline players after primarily working with the Notre Dame guards during his first six seasons as an Irish assistant.
And as Notre Dame begins its first season in the Atlantic Coast Conference, Balanis, like Brey, has ties to one of the nation's most prestigious conferences. Balanis played at Georgia Tech under legendary coach Bobby Cremins in the early 1990s.
As part of the Fighting Irish basketball staff over the last 13 seasons, Balanis has played an integral role in Notre Dame's success. Since the 2000-01 campaign, Irish teams have earned NCAA tournament berths in nine seasons with the 2002-03 squad advancing to the NCAA Sweet 16.
Notre Dame teams have compiled a 285-142 (.667) mark overall and a 136-84 (.618) record in BIG EAST regular-season play. The Irish finished in the top-five of the conference regular-season standings on eight occasions and finished with 10 or more wins during the regular season nine times.
Since the 2006-07 campaign, Notre Dame has recorded a school-record seven consecutive 20-win seasons and made the NCAA tournament six times. Balanis has been part of Irish teams that have made the NCAA Championship in nine of 13 seasons.
Over the past four seasons, Notre Dame has posted a sterling 97-41 (.703) mark, the most wins during that time frame in program history. From 2009-13, Irish teams also posted a 48-24 record (also the most conference wins) in the BIG EAST.
Balanis also helped bring a conference regular-season championship to Notre Dame as the Irish won the 2001 BIG EAST West Division title.
Balanis helped mentor former Irish guards Kyle McAlarney ('09) and Tory Jackson ('10). McAlarney finished his Notre Dame career as one of the program's top three-point shooters and set the school's single-season mark with 124 three-pointers in 2008-09. Jackson finished as the BIG EAST assist leader in both his freshman and sophomore seasons and was named to the BIG EAST All-Rookie Team in 2007.
Balanis has been instrumental in the development of Notre Dame's post play the last five seasons. He worked extensively with former All-American and 2008 BIG EAST Player of the Year, Luke Harangody, and played a big part during the 2011-12 and 2012-13 campaigns in the maturation of forward Jack Cooley. As a junior, Cooley was a second-team all-BIG EAST selection and was honored as the league's most improved player as he led the Irish in both scoring (12.5 ppg) and rebounding (8.9). In his senior season, Cooley was a first team all-BIG EAST selection and was the only player in the league to average double figures in both scoring (12.4) and rebounding (10.1) during the conference regular season.
Balanis has played an important role in Notre Dame's recruiting efforts as well. He served as the primary contact in the recruitment of current Irish guard, junior Jerian Grant. Grant sat out the 2010-11 campaign, but had a sensational first season as he scored 12.3 points and led Notre Dame with 169 assists while playing in all 34 contests. Grant also was a member of the BIG EAST all-rookie team, the first player to earn that honor in five years. In 2012-13, Grant led the Irish in scoring with a 13.3 scoring average and earned second team all-conference honors.
This is Balanis' second stint as an assistant coach at the collegiate level. Prior to coming to Notre Dame at the start of the 2000-01 campaign, he spent four years as an assistant coach at Colgate University in Hamilton, N.Y.
In his first season at Colgate, Balanis had the opportunity to coach and work with Adonal Foyle, a seven-year member of the NBA's Golden State Warriors. Foyle, the eighth overall pick in the '97 NBA Draft, finished his career as the NCAA's all-time career shot-blocking leader.
Balanis played at Georgia Tech for Bobby Cremins from 1990-94, enrolling at the Atlanta, Georgia school in the fall of 1989. Balanis was part of teams that made four trips to the NCAA tournament and appeared in the National Invitation Tournament (NIT) once. The Ramblin' Wreck reached the Sweet 16 twice in that five-year span and earned a berth in the '90 Final Four held that year in Denver, Colo.
Off the court, the Williamsburg, Va., native excelled in the classroom, earning Atlantic Coast Conference Academic Honor Roll recognition. The Boy Scouts of America also honored him for his outstanding character and citizenship when he was named "Peach of an Athlete" in '93.
Following graduation, Balanis went to Greece, where he played professionally for Aris Thessoliniki of the Greek First Division during the 1994-95 season.
He graduated from DeMatha High School in Hyattsville, Md., in 1988 after an outstanding prep career playing for legendary coach Morgan Wootten. Irish head coach Mike Brey was an assistant at DeMatha at the time Balanis was attending the school. He helped the Stags to an 84-16 record and nine tournament titles during the course of his four seasons. He also set the school's single-game assist mark when he had 14 in one game.
Balanis hails from a family with coaching roots at the collegiate level as his father, George, was the head basketball coach at William & Mary from 1974-77.
Balanis graduated with honors from Georgia Tech with a bachelor's degree in management. He and his wife, the former Liz Barker, were married in August 2002. She was a former standout tennis player at Wake Forest and served as the assistant women's tennis coach at Notre Dame for six seasons. The couple has three sons, Andrew George, (born in May of 2005), Lukas Lowell (born in November of 2007) and Theodore Roderick (born in June 2010).