March 21, 2012
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - Irish men's basketball coach Mike Brey, who guided the Notre Dame men's basketball team to its third straight 20-win campaign and third consecutive NCAA tournament appearance, has been named the 2012 National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) District V Coach of the Year for the second time in as many seasons.
Brey, in his 12th season on the sidelines, led a young Irish squad to a 22-12 campaign and third-place finish in the final BIG EAST regular-season with a 13-5 mark (the second-most conference wins in program history) after Notre Dame was picked to finish ninth in the league's preseason poll.
Notre Dame became one of the surprise stories of the 2011-12 campaign considering the youth of this year's team and circumstances of the season. Following the departure of three starters from last year's record-setting 27-7 year, the Irish's chances of an NCAA return were dealt a severe blow when preseason first-team all-BIG EAST pick Tim Abromaitis tore his ACL in late November and was sidelined for the remainder of the season.
Notre Dame headed into the BIG EAST season with an 8-5 record, and following its first six league contests, the Irish were 11-8 overall and 3-3 in the league. Brey's squad stunned the college basketball world when Notre Dame knocked off top-ranked and undefeated Syracuse, 67-68, at home. The victory was the first of a record nine-game BIG EAST win streak that saw the Irish climb to as high as 18th in the ESPN/USA Today rankings and also earned Brey his 250th career as Notre Dame's head coach.
Notre Dame advanced to the semifinals of the BIG EAST Championship for the third straight year and finished with a 5-5 record versus ranked opponents during the season. In addition to the win over the Orange, another highlight for the Irish was a double-overtime (67-65) victory at Louisville that marked the first win by a Notre Dame team in the state of Kentucky since 1980 and snapped a 16-game losing steak to the Cardinals in the Bluegrass state. A second straight win against Connecticut on the road also proved to be one of the featured wins during the record-setting nine-game BIG EAST win streak.
The third-longest tenured coach in the BIG EAST Conference and three-time coach-of-the-year honoree, Brey ranks fifth all-time in league history with 133 victories. He owns a 260-132 mark with the Irish for a .663 winning percentage and has an overall 359-184 record (.661 winning percentage) in 17 seasons as a head coach.
Brey's Notre Dame teams have earned eight NCAA tournament appearances during his 12-year tenure and produced nine 20-win campaigns, including its current stretch of six straight seasons with 20 or more wins. In eight of his 12 campaigns, the Irish have won 10 or BIG EAST regular-season games. Notre Dame is the only BIG EAST to play in the conference semifinals each of the last three years.
Brey also has guided Notre Dame to the most wins at home and best winning percentage in BIG EAST regular-season play at home. Since 2006-07, the Irish are 47-6 for an 88.7 winning percentage. Notre Dame also has the third-best overall home winning percentage over the past six seasons with a 100-7 record (.935).
For the 12th consecutive year under Brey, Notre Dame had a player earn all-conference honors as junior forward Jack Cooley copped second-team honors and sophomore guard Jerian Grant earned a spot on the league's all-rookie team. In addition, Cooley was named the BIG EAST Most Improved Player as he became the first Notre Dame player to earn this honor.