Notre Dame coach Mike Brey to step down: Winningest coach in Fighting Irish history is out at end of season

Notre Dame men’s basketball coach Mike Brey plans to step down at the end of the 2022-23 season, the program announced Thursday afternoon. Brey, 63, is in the midst of his 23rd season leading the Notre Dame program.

“It has been a great run for me and our program over the past two decades, but it is time for a new voice to lead this group into the future,” Brey said in a statement released by the university. “I want to thank our student-athletes, assistant coaches and support staff who have played such a key role in the culture we have created.”

The Irish, off to a 9-10 start this season this season, are 481-269 since Brey took over at Notre Dame in 2000. The winningest coach in program history, he led the Irish to an ACC Tournament title in 2014 in the first and only 30+ win seasons under his guidance in what was the peak point of his tenure. That sparked a three-year run in which the team made the NCAA Tournament in three straight seasons and went 82-28.

Notre Dame in the time since has made just one NCAA Tournament appearance in that span and not advanced beyond the second weekend of the tournament since consecutive Elite Eight appearances in 2015 and 2016. The program won 24 games last season and seemed to be on the upswing after an 11-win 2020-21 season, but in 19 games this season Notre Dame has struggled and is just one game above last place in the ACC.

“Mike (Brey) and I have talked often in recent years about a future transition in the program’s leadership and during our most recent conversation we reached the mutual conclusion that the end of this season represented the right time,” Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick he said. “That Mike is the winningest coach in the 119-year history of Notre Dame men’s basketball speaks to his skill as a teacher of the game. His even greater legacy, however, lies in his achievements as an educator and mentor of the young men who played for him. In that sense, he represents this University as well as any coach I have worked with during my time at Notre Dame. And for that reason, I look forward to working with Mike to define his future role within Notre Dame Athletics. “

An exasperated Brey, after falling at home Tuesday to a down Florida State in Notre Dame’s fourth loss in its last five outings, seemed to foreshadow the move following the loss to the Seminoles earlier in the week. In his postgame press conference he lamented his inability to help this team win games and showed frustration in himself for not pushing the right buttons to turn things around.

“I certainly haven’t been able to help them much. I told them that. I said, ‘I’ve done a horrible job with you, fellas.'” he said. “THE [told the team], ‘I misread you.’ I thought we would be ready to compete. That’s the boss’s responsibility. Fully accountable. Fully accountable.”

Brey led the Irish to consecutive Elite Eight appearances in 2015 and 2016 but made just one NCAA Tournament appearance in the last six seasons.

Brey’s illustrious coaching career began as an assistant under Hall of Fame coach Mike Krzyzewski in the 1980s before spreading his wings and taking his own head coaching gig at Delaware in 1995. He went 99-52 in five seasons there and twice made the NCAA Tournament before jumping to take the Notre Dame job.

Consistent winning as a stabilizing force defined Brey’s coaching career at both Delaware and at Notre Dame where he won big and helped guide the program’s through uncertainty. In the mid-1990s he was a key force in leading Delaware from the NAC to the AEC, and after one season won consecutive regular-season titles in the new league. At Notre Dame he also helped lead the program to a new conference as it transitioned from the Big East to the ACC in 2013. The first season in the ACC resulted in a 15-17 season before a career-best 32-win season.

Among active NCAA coaches at their current Division I schools, Brey’s 481 wins with Notre Dame ranks sixth-most. His 580 career wins are tied for 75th-most all-time with Fran Dunphy.

“I leave this place with immense gratitude to the University and I’m proud of everything we’ve accomplished together,” Brey said. “I look forward to working with Jack in any role that can help the Notre Dame family.”

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