In 16 seasons as head men’s basketball coach at the University of Notre Dame, Mike Brey has guided the Fighting Irish to 356 victories, an average of 22 victories per season, three trips to the NCAA Sweet 16, back-to-back NCAA Elite Eight appearances in 2015 and 2016 and the 2015 ACC Championship. Second on the all-time wins list at Notre Dame and boasting 455 career wins as a head coach, Brey has led the Irish through two of the most memorable seasons in Notre Dame basketball history in 2014-15 and 2015-16.
In 2014-15, the Irish captured the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament championship en route to a final 32-6 record - the 32 victories representing the second-most for an Irish men’s basketball team. The team advanced to the Elite Eight of the 2015 NCAA Championship for the first time since 1979 and finished fifth in the final USA Today/Coaches poll and eighth in the Associated Press ranking. It marked the first time since the 1978-79 campaign that a Notre Dame squad finished in the top 10 of the final national rankings. Brey also led the Irish to the second-best season turnaround from the previous year, as Notre Dame improved to win 17 more games than it did in 2013-14.
The 2015-16 season proved to be another step forward for the program, as they earned the first-ever win over Duke in Cameron Indoor Stadium for an Irish men’s basketball team, knocked off top-ranked North Carolina at Purcell Pavilion and made another memorable run to the NCAA Elite Eight, defeating Michigan, Stephen F. Austin and Wisconsin in dramatic fashion. Notre Dame is the only team in Division I to make the NCAA Elite Eight in each of the past two seasons.
Over the past two years the Irish have established program-best marks for NCAA wins (six) and overall wins (56).
During his 21-year coaching tenure with the Irish and at the University of Delaware, Brey’s teams have registered 455 victories, ranking 25th on the list of active Division I men’s basketball coaches in total victories and 21st in winning percentage (.668). He is also 14th on the list of coaches with 300 wins at their current institution.
Brey was named head coach at Notre Dame on July 14, 2000. In his first season with the Irish, he led the team to the 2001 Big East West Division championship while finishing Notre Dame’s time in the Big East fourth on the all-time coaching wins list. Fifteen of his 16 teams at Notre Dame have advanced to the postseason, with 11 of those squads advancing to NCAA tournament play, including a run to the NCAA Sweet 16 in 2003.
In 2011, Brey was the recipient of both the Associated Press and the Henry Iba/USBWA National Coach of the Year award. He was named Big East Coach of the Year in 2007, 2008 and 2011, and three of his players have been named Big East Player of the Year. During the 2013-14 season, Brey became the 17th active Division I coach to reach 300 wins at his current institution.
Before arriving at Notre Dame, Brey was the head basketball coach at the University of Delaware, where he compiled a 99-52 mark from 1995-2000 and won America East Co-Coach of the Year honors in 1998.
Prior to his time at Delaware, he was an assistant coach at Duke University. During his eight years at Duke, the Blue Devils advanced to the Final Four six times and won back-to-back national championships in 1991 and 1992.
Prior to entering the collegiate ranks, Brey played for and coached with legendary high school coach Morgan Wootten at DeMatha High School. He played two years at DeMatha, helping the Stags to a 55-9 record. After his graduation from George Washington, Brey spent five seasons as an assistant coach at his alma mater, helping DeMatha compile a 139-22 record, four league titles and a number-one ranking by USA Today in 1984.
Brey serves on the Coaches vs. Cancer National Council and has helped raise over two million dollars for the organization. He also has partnered with the American Heart Association to create the Men of Heart initiative, raising funds and awareness for men’s heart health. Brey is on the National Advisory Board of the Positive Coaching Alliance. He has also been inducted into the University of Delaware and the George Washington University Athletics Halls of Fame.
AN ATHLETIC FAMILY
Brey was a standout guard in his collegiate playing days, competing for three seasons at Northwestern Louisiana State (now Northwestern State) from 1977-80, leading the team in assists and steals all three years. He played his final collegiate season at George Washington in 1980-81 after sitting out the 1979-80 season as a transfer. He averaged 5.0 points and 4.8 rebounds per game for the Colonials, serving as team captain and being named team MVP.
Brey comes from an athletic family of educators. His late father, Paul, was a high school athletics director in Maryland while his mother, the late Betty Mullen, was the women’s swimming coach at George Washington.
Betty was perhaps the family’s most accomplished athlete, as she attended Purdue University and swam for the AAU team in West Lafayette, Ind. For a time, she held the world record in the butterfly events and competed for the United States at the 1956 Olympics in Melbourne, Australia. Betty’s brother, Jack Mullen, played guard at Duke University and was a member of the school’s first ACC championship team in 1950.
Brey’s mother passed away on March 21, 2015, hours before Notre Dame defeated Butler 67-64 in overtime of the NCAA Tournament in Pittsburgh, Pa. He coached the game that night as a tribute to his mother and the inspiration she provided to him throughout his career, with the Irish team only learning of his mother’s passing after the conclusion of the game. Brey’s father, Paul, passed away on Dec. 20, 2015.
Brey’s younger sister, Brenda, swam competitively at LSU and is a physical education teacher in the Rockville, Md., area. His younger brother, Shane, was a high school standout at Walter Johnson High School in Bethesda, Md. Born March 22, 1959,
Brey is a 1982 graduate of George Washington with a degree in physical education. He has two children - Kyle and Callie - and a granddaughter, Olivia Marie.
Brey inherited a talented roster, including All-American Troy Murphy and current Director of Basketball Operations Harold Swanagan. Coming off a 22-15 mark from a season before and just missing out on a berth in the NCAA Championship, Brey helped Notre Dame take the next step and return to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since the 1988-89 season, finishing 20-10 overall, 11-5 in the Big East Conference and winning the Big East West Division Championship. The Irish defeated Xavier 83-71 in their first appearance in the NCAA tournament in 12 years, then fell to Mississippi in the second round.
If 2000-01 marked the return of Notre Dame basketball to the national scene, the 2001-02 season verified that the program was there to stay. A third-straight 20-win season (22-10), a 10-6 mark in the Big East (good for second in the division) earned the team a #8 seed in the NCAA Tournament. The Irish defeated Charlotte in the first round, then battled #1 seed Duke into the game’s final moments before falling to the Blue Devils 84-77. The season featured six sold out games in Purcell Pavilion (the most in six seasons) and Notre Dame’s first appearance in the Big East tournament semifinals. Current Irish assistant coach Ryan Humphrey served as one of Brey’s three team captains during the season and earned first team All-Big East honors.
It was another giant step forward for the program in 2002-03, as Notre Dame advanced to the NCAA Sweet 16 for the first time since 1987, defeating Wisconsin-Milwaukee and Illinois in the first two rounds of the tournament in Indianapolis, Ind., before falling to Arizona in Anaheim, Calif. The 24-10 campaign featured a program-first three consecutive wins over top-10 ranked teams, as the Irish defeated #10 Marquette, #8 Maryland and #2 Texas in consecutive outings.
Notre Dame returned to the NCAA tournament with a 24-8 overall record and 11-5 mark in the Big East, as Brey earned his first Big East Coach of the Year award. The Irish began the season with a 15-2 record, the program’s best start since 1978-79, and finished the year 18-0 at Purcell Pavilion - the first undefeated season at home since 1968-69.
A 25-8 record, along with a 14-4 final total in Big East play would earn Brey his second straight conference coach of the year award and the Irish returned to the NCAA Tournament to defeat George Mason before falling to Washington State in the second round. During the season, the Irish pushed their home-court winning streak to 37 games.
The run of postseason appearances continued for the Irish, with a trip to the NIT semifinals capping a 21-15 overall record. The team was led by Ryan Ayers, a current assistant coach with the Irish, and Luke Harangody, who became the first play to lead the Big East in scoring and rebounding in back-to-back seasons. The season was highlighted by the team’s 39th consecutive home court victory over Furman on Nov. 30, 2008, eclipsing the 60-year old school record that was set at the Notre Dame Fieldhouse from 1943-48. The team eventually pushed the homecourt win streak to 45 games, the longest in the nation at the time, before it was ended against Connecticut on January 24, 2009.
Notre Dame returned to the NCAA tournament for the sixth time in 10 years, finishing the season with a 23-12 record and 10-6 record in the Big East. The Irish won six of their last eight games, including three victories over ranked opponents and advanced to the Big East tournament semifinals for the third time. Senior point guard Tory Jackson became the second player to lead the Big East in assists for three consecutive seasons, joining Syracuse’s Sherman Douglas.
A fifth consecutive 20-win season culminated with a 27-7 record, 14-4 in Big East play that earned Brey the Associated Press Coach of the Year Award. Reaching as high as fourth in the national polls during the year, the Irish would finish ranked 14th, the program’s highest mark since the 1978-79 campaign. Notre Dame also received a #2 seed to the NCAA Tournament, the highest seed earned in the Brey era at Notre Dame. For the third time in five seasons, the Irish finished undefeated at home with a 17-0 record.
Poised to take another step forward, a key injury to All-America candidate Tim Abromaitis in the preseason forced Brey to reset the roster. The reset worked, as the team finished 22-12 overall and returned to the NCAA tournament for the eighth time in 12 years under Brey’s leadership. The Irish advanced to the Big East semifinals for the third consecutive season and won a program-best nine consecutive conference games. Another highlight of the season was Notre Dame’s 67-58 victory over #1 Syracuse at Purcell Pavilion on Jan. 21, 2012, the 10th win over a top-ranked team for the Irish and the sixth straight at Purcell (an NCAA record).
The final season of Big East competition for the Irish saw the team finish 25-10 overall and advance to their fourth straight NCAA tournament appearance. The Irish finished 5-4 against nine ranked opponents during the year and advanced to the semifinals of the Big East Tournament for the fourth time. Brey finished his time in the Big East as the league’s fourth all-time winningest coach with 146 wins, behind Jim Boeheim (416), Jim Calhoun (309) and John Thompson (231).
After missing out on the postseason for the first time in the Brey era, the 2014-15 team bounced back in memorable fashion, compiling perhaps the finest season in Notre Dame basketball history. Led by seniors Jerian Grant and Pat Connaughton, the Irish finished 32-6, won the ACC Championship tournament in just the second year in the conference and advanced to the NCAA Elite Eight to battle number-one seed Kentucky in the most-watched collegiate basketball game on cable television. The Irish ended up as just the third team to win the ACC tournament in the state of North Carolina by posting wins over Duke and North Carolina along the way.
Working off the momentum of the 2014-15 season and the NCAA Elite Eight run, the Irish owned March again to become the only school in the country with back-to-back visits to the Elite Eight in the past two seasons. Rallying to defeat Michigan, Stephen F. Austin and Wisconsin, the Irish would fall to North Carolina in the East Regional Final. The season also featured the program’s first victory at Cameron Indoor Stadium over Duke and a victory over number-one ranked North Carolina in Purcell Pavilion.
- 356-177 (.688) record at Notre Dame - 16 seasons
- 455-229 (.665) overall career record - 21 seasons
- 2015, 2016 NCAA Elite Eight Appearances
- 2003, 2015, 2016 NCAA Sweet 16 Appearances
- 15 20-win seasons (12 at Notre Dame)
- 13 NCAA championship appearances (11 at Notre Dame)
- Fourth all-time in Big East Conference wins (146-97, .601)
- 2007-08 Notre Dame led the nation in assists per game (18.4)
- 1995-96 Big East West Division Champions
- Most wins by a first-year head coach at Notre Dame (20)
- 1998, 1999 America East Conference Champions
- First head coach at Delaware to post three consecutive 20-win seasons
- 2012 Associated Press Coach of the Year
- 2012 United States Basketball Writers Association Henry Iba Coach of the Year
- 2012 Basketball Times Coach of the Year
- 2012 CollegeInsider.com Jim Phelan Coach of the Year
- 2011 Associated Press Coach of the Year
- 2011 United States Basketball Writers Association Henry Iba Coach of the Year
- 2011 Basketball Times Coach of the Year
- 2011 Big East Coach of the Year
- 2008 Big East Coach of the Year
- 2008 Skip Prosser Award
- 2007 Big East Coach of the Year
- 2003 NABC District 10 Coach of the Year
- 1997 America East Co-Coach of the Year
- University of Notre Dame Honorary Monogram (2006)
- Delaware Athletics Hall of Fame
- George Washington University Athletics Hall of Fame
- DeMatha High School Distinguished Alumnus Award
- 2003 Coaches vs. Cancer Champion Award
- 2014 Ray Meyer Coach Award
- March 25, 2016 - 61-56 win over Wisconsin in the NCAA Sweet 16, Irish rally in the final 14.7 seconds to outscore Wisconsin 6-0 and advance to the Elite Eight.
- Feb. 6, 2016 - 80-76 win over #2/1 North Carolina, the program’s 11th win over the top-ranked team in the nation.
- Jan. 16, 2016 - 95-91 win at Duke, the program’s first win at Cameron Indoor Stadium.
- March 22, 2015 - 67-64 OT victory over Butler in the NCAA second round, pushing Notre Dame to the Sweet 16. Brey coached the game just hours after the passing of his mother, Betty.
- March 11, 2015 - Notre Dame erases a 63-54 deficit to build an 80-66 lead with 2:54 and claim the program’s first ACC Championship, at one point outscoring UNC 26-3 in the second half.
- Jan. 4, 2014 - 79-77 win vs. #7 Duke in the first ACC game at Purcell Pavilion.
- Feb. 9, 2013 - 104-101 5 OT win vs. Louisville, longest game in the history of Purcell Pavilion and the Big East Conference.
- Jan. 7, 2012 - 67-65 2 OT win at Louisville, first win for Notre Dame over Louisville in Kentucky since 1958.
- Jan. 21, 2012 - 67-58 win over Syracuse, first upset of a number-one ranked team under Brey.
- March 5, 2011 - 70-67 win at Connecticut, rallying from five points down to hand UConn its final loss of the season (the Huskies would go on to win the national title).
- Jan. 24, 2011 - 56-51 win at Pittsburgh, snapping #2 Pitt’s 20-game home win streak.
- March 6, 2010 - 63-60 OT win at Marquette, trailing by seven with 1:19 remaining, Carleton Scott’s three-pointer at the buzzer pushed the game into overtime, where the Irish outscored Marquette 12-9.
- Feb. 9, 2003 - 66-64 win over #4 Pittsburgh in front of a record 11,450 fans in Purcell Pavilion. Feb. 9, 2004 - 80-74 win over #5 Connecticut, the first win over UConn since 2000.
- Feb. 8, 2005 - 68-65 win over #4 Boston College, ending BC’s 20-game win streak to begin the season.
- Dec. 8, 2002 - 98-92 win over #2 Texas in the BB&T Classic Championship game, the team’s third-straight win over a top-10 opponent.
MILESTONE WINS AT NOTRE DAME
- 1 - vs. Sacred Heart, 104-58, Nov. 18, 2000
- 100 - vs. Georgetown, 70-64, Feb. 15, 2005
- 200 - vs. Providence, 93-78, Dec. 30, 2009
- 300 - vs. Georgia Tech, 65-62, Feb. 26, 2014
MILESTONE CAREER WINS
- 1 - Delaware 100, Washington (MD) 58, Nov. 27, 1995
- 50 - Delaware 66, Boston University 58, March 7, 1998
- 100 - Notre Dame 104, Sacred Heart 58, Nov 18, 2000
- 200 - Notre Dame 62, Providence 61, Feb. 19, 2005
- 300 - Notre Dame 74, USF 73, Jan. 5, 2010
- 400 - Notre Dame 82, Binghamton 39, Nov. 14, 2014
- Jerian Grant, 2014-15
- Troy Murphy, 2000-01
SECOND TEAM CONSENSUS ALL-AMERICANS
- Ben Hansbrough, 2010-11
- Luke Harangody, 2007-08 and 2008-09
- Jerian Grant, First Team, Consensus, 2014-15
- Ben Hansbrough, Second Team, 2010-11
- Luke Harangody, First Team, 2007-08, 2008-09, 2009-10
- Ryan Humphrey, Second Team, 2001-02
- Troy Murphy, First Team, Consensus, 2000-01
CONFERENCE PLAYERS OF THE YEAR
- Ben Hansbrough, Big East 2011
- Luke Harangody, Big East 2001
- Troy Murphy, Big East 2000
- Demetrius Jackson, 2016, Second Team
- Zach Auguste, 2016, Third Team
- Jerian Grant, 2015, First Team, 2013 Second Team
- Pat Connaughton, 2015, Third Team
- Eric Atkins, 2014, Third Team Jack Cooley, 2013 First Team, 2012, Second Team
- Ben Hansbrough, 2011, First Team
- Tim Abromaitis, 2011, Third Team
- Luke Harangody, 2010, 2009, 2008, First Team
- Kyle McAlarney, 2008, First Team
- Russell Carter, 2007, First Team
- Colin Falls, 2007, First Team
- Chris Quinn, 2006, First Team
- Chris Thomas, 2003-04, Second Team, 2002, 2005, Third Team
- Matt Carroll, 2003, First Team
- Ryan Humphrey, 2002, First Team, 2001, Third Team
- Troy Murphy, 2001, First Team
COSIDA ACADEMIC ALL-AMERICANS
- Chris Quinn, 2006
- Tim Abromaitis, 2010, 2011
NBA DRAFT SELECTIONS
- 2015, Jerian Grant, 1st Round, 19th Selection, Washington Wizards
- 2001, Troy Murphy, 1st Round, 14th Selection, Golden State Warriors
- 2002, Ryan Humphrey, 1st Round, 19th Selection, Utah Jazz
- 2015, Pat Connaughton, 2nd Round, 41st Selection, Portland Trailblazers
- 2016, Demetrius Jackson, 2nd Round, 45th Selection, Boston Celtics
- 2010, Luke Harangody, 2nd Round, 52nd Selection, Boston Celtics