Dec. 15, 2017
As Glenn and Stacey Murphy Head Men's Basketball Coach Mike Brey closes in on the all-time record for coaching wins at the University of Notre Dame, Fighting Irish Media will be highlighting 18 of the top moments from the Mike Brey era.
Fans can follow along all year via the hashtag #Breyteen - celebrating Coach Brey's 18th season at Notre Dame in 2017-18. Fans also will be able to monitor and celebrate Coach Brey's run to the record - five wins will set the all-time mark - with the hashtag #BreysChase.
For our first #Breyteen moment (which will be presented in random order this season) we look back at the Notre Dame's three consecutive wins over top-10 ranked opponents in 2002...
Previous #Breyteen moments:
Irish Post 45 Straight Home Court Wins
Sweet Notre Dame Ending For Dan Miller
Irish Take Out Three Straight Top-10 Teams
By Alan Wasielewski
“Not tonight,” Pat Connaughton said as he walked back on the court and toward the Irish bench. The Notre Dame captain and driving force behind the team’s resurgence in 2014-15 had ended up a few rows into the stands following his dramatic blocked shot of Butler’s Kellen Dunham attempt in the closing seconds of regulation. Just seconds earlier, Dunham had briefly lost Connaughton on the out-of-bounds set play when he and Jerian Grant switched defensive assignments.
Connaughton took a step toward the top of the key, but Dunham cut to the corner and looked to have an open shot before the big defensive play that ensured an overtime session to decide who would advance to the NCAA Sweet 16.
Connaughton eventually broke the tie a few minutes into overtime with a 3-pointer and Notre Dame earned a trip to the regional semifinal with a 67-64 victory over Butler in Pittsburgh.
After the game the Irish celebrated in the locker room and thanked Connaughton for his protection of the rim. Little did the Irish know that their head coach, Mike Brey, had protected his team from the distraction of a personal loss.
Brey’s mother, Betty Brey Mullen, had passed away earlier in the day at 84 of a heart attack. Brey never told his team what had occurred. After he left the locker room to handle his post-game media duties, Notre Dame athletics director Jack Swarbrick informed the team of what happened earlier in the day.
“It was kind of a tribute to her,” Brey said after the game. “It was a really special night. My mom was an unbelievable woman, a woman ahead of her time and probably the real driving force behind everything I’ve done.”
Notre Dame had earned its place in the NCAA Sweet 16 behind the power of two “driving forces.” Connaughton, the captain who refused to let his team lose in the final seconds and Betty Mullen Brey, the mother who developed a son into the ultimate player’s coach.
Alan Wasielewski is an Associate Athletics Communication Director at the University of Notre Dame. He works primarily with the men's basketball and rowing team. A 2000 graduate of the University, Wasielewski is entering his 17th year at Notre Dame, working in both the multimedia productions and athletics communications offices in his time on campus.