Balanis became the coordinator of basketball operations in July 2000 and was one of Brey’s first hires when he became the Irish head coach. Following three seasons in that position, Balanis was promoted to assistant coach in May 2003.
Balanis is in his seventh 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. Similar to Brey, Balanis has ties to the Atlantic Coast Conference, having played at Georgia Tech under legendary coach Bobby Cremins in the early 1990s.
As part of the Fighting Irish basketball staff over the last 15 seasons, Balanis has played an integral role in Notre Dame’s success. Since the 2000-01 campaign, Irish teams have earned NCAA Championship berths in 10 seasons, including last season’s 2014-15 squad that finished the season with a 32-6 record (second-most wins in school history) after advancing to the program’s first NCAA Elite Eight appearance since 1979.
Notre Dame earned the automatic bid into the 2015 68-team field after winning the Atlantic Coast Conference Championship Tournament in Greensboro, North Carolina. The Irish took down Miami (70-63), Duke (74-64) and North Carolina (92) at the championship en route to its first ACC crown. Balanis also was part of Notre Dame’s run to the Sweet 16 in 2003 during Brey’s third season as head coach.
Since Balanis’ arrival, Notre Dame teams have compiled a 332-165 (.668) mark overall. While a member of the BIG EAST Conference, Irish teams compiled a 136-84 (.618) record in regular-season play, finished in the top five of the conference regular-season standings on eight occasions and earned with 10 or more wins during the regular season nine times.
From 2006-13, Notre Dame recorded a school-record seven consecutive 20-win seasons and made the NCAA Championship six times.
From 2009-13, Notre Dame posted a sterling 97-41 (.703) mark, the most wins during that time frame in program history, and registered a 48-24 record (also the most conference wins) in BIG EAST regular-season contests.
Balanis helped bring a conference regular-season championship to Notre Dame in Brey’s inaugural season 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 six 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 a key role in Notre Dame’s recruiting efforts as well. He served as the primary contact in the recruitment of former Irish standouts Jerian Grant and Pat Connaughton. Grant earned first team consensus All-America honors, a unanimous first team all-ACC honoree and copped MVP honors at the ACC Championship, while Connaughton was a third team all-league selection and garnered NCAA Midwest Region All-Tournament team honors.
Both Grant and Connaughton were drafted 19th and 41st overall in the 2015 National Basketball Association Draft. The occasion marked the first time since 1992 that Notre Dame had two players selected in the same draft. Grant is a current member of the New York Knicks, while Connaughton is on the Portland Trailblazers’ roster.
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 1997 NBA Draft, finished his career as the NCAA’s 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. He was part of teams that made four trips to the NCAA Championsip 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 1990 Final Four held that year in Denver, Colo.
A native of Williamsburg, Virginia, Balanis excelled in the classroom while at Georgia Tech, 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 1993.
Following his 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. Brey served as an assistant at DeMatha at the time Balanis was attending the school. Balanis 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, served as 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, Lukas and Theodore.