Sean Kearney, one of the most respected and well-liked coaches in the coaching ranks, begins his 22nd season as a college coach in 2008-09 and his ninth as the associate head coach at Notre Dame. Regarded as one of the top associates in the game today, he has been head coach Mike Brey's lead assistant since the two began coaching together at the University of Delaware following Brey's appointment to the top post at the Newark, Del., school in 1995. When Brey left Delaware to take the head coaching job at Notre Dame, he brought with him the only top assistant he had known as a head coach -- Kearney.
The combination of Brey and Kearney has been a winning one both at Notre Dame and Delaware for the past 13 years. The two have combined for 266 victories and a nearly 65.8 winning percentage, seven NCAA tournament appearances, and four National Invitation Tournament appearances and a BIG EAST West Division championship in 2001.
Over the course of the last eight seasons, Notre Dame has posted a 167-86 record for a 61.4 winning percentage and advanced to the postseason in each of those seasons, including four NCAA tournament trips and a berth in the Sweet 16 in 2003. The Irish have posted five 20-win campaigns and finished with an 80-50 record in BIG EAST regular-season play that includes five seasons with 10-plus wins.
Last season, Notre Dame rolled to a final 25-8 record (third most wins in school history) and a program-best 14-4 mark in BIG EAST play. Over the course of the past two campaigns, Irish teams have compiled a 49-16 (.754) combined overall record and a 25-9 (.735) regular-season BIG EAST mark. Kearney has been instrumental in the resurgence of the Irish basketball program. His primary focus is with the development of Notre Dame's post players. In addition, he coordinates the program's national recruiting efforts.
Kearney has aided in the development of first-round NBA Draft picks Troy Murphy in 2001 and Ryan Humphrey in 2002. Also under his tutelage, 2006 graduate Torin Francis earned BIG EAST all-conference honors two of his four seasons (as an all-rookie team selection in 2003 and all-conference honorable mention choice in 2004) and finished his career as one of only seven players in school history with better than 1,000 career points and 900 rebounds.
Forward Luke Harangody was named BIG EAST Player of the Year in '08 after becoming just the second player in conference history to lead the league in both scoring and rebounding. Following the 2006-07 campaign, Harangody was named to the league's all-rookie team.
Promoted to associate head coach prior to the start of the 1998-99 Blue Hen season, he helped Delaware to four NCAA tournament appearances (1992, '93, '98 and '99) overall during his eight-year tenure at the school. Kearney and Brey combined for a 99-52 (.656) record from 1995-2000 and registered at least 20 wins in each of the final three years they spent at Delaware, a first in that school's history. While at Delaware, Kearney was instrumental in developing the Blue Hens' post players. Three of the players he worked with -- Greg Smith, Spencer Dunkley and Mike Pegues -- combine to hold over 20 Blue Hen records.
Notre Dame is the sixth coaching stint for Kearney, and fifth in the collegiate ranks. No stranger to the BIG EAST, Kearney previously served as an assistant under Rick Pitino at Providence for one year (1986-87) and also coached at Northwestern (1988-91) under Bill Foster.
Kearney began coaching in 1981 as an assistant at his alma mater, Cardinal O'Hara High School in Springfield, Pa. From 1981-86, he spent five years working with his former high school coach, Bud Gardler. While coaching at Cardinal O'Hara, he was employed as a senior systems analyst for Cigna. It was during that time that Kearney joined the staff of the prestigious Five Star Basketball Camps. That association helped him move on to the college coaching ranks.
His collegiate coaching career began in dramatic fashion at Providence College. During his only season at the Providence, R.I. school, the Friars advanced to the Final Four of the '87 NCAA tournament in New Orleans by winning the Southeast Regional championship, marking the school's second Final Four appearance. After Pitino moved to the New York Knicks of the National Basketball Association, Kearney became an assistant under longtime head coach Herb Magee at Division II power Philadelphia Textile (now Philadelphia University). After just one season, he moved to Northwestern.
Kearney, who graduated with honors from the University of Scranton in 1981 with a bachelor's degree in political science, was a four-year member of the Royals' basketball team. In his final two seasons, Scranton finished with consecutive 18-11 records. He was a member of teams that won three Middle Atlantic Conference titles and earned three NCAA Division III playoff appearances. As a senior, he averaged 4.2 assists per game.
Born Nov. 14, 1959, he is married to the former Kimberly Lancaster. The couple has two daughters, Erin, a junior in high school, and Shannon, a high school freshman.