Two months removed from his latest success, Mike Brey gets rewarded with well-deserved 10-year extension at Notre Dame this morning. (Photo courtesy of The Sporting News)
Sometimes nice guys really do finish first.
Mike Brey is living proof now that he has signed a ten-year contract extension that will keep the affable Notre Dame coach in South Bend through the 2021-22 season after it is formally announced at a press conference later this morning. In essence, this contract is also an early birthday present for the man who turns 53 on Friday, and a reward for yet another year of unexpected success in which the Fighting Irish made the NCAA Tournament despite the loss of star forward Tim Abromaitis to a torn ACL.
"When I took the job here nearly thirteen years ago, I felt that this could be a place where I could retire from coaching," said Brey, a former Mike Krzyzewski assistant at Duke who coached Delaware before landing at Notre Dame. "With the terms of this new contract, I certainly intend for it to be my last coaching stop. It has been a privilege and honor to have coached the young men who have come through our basketball family. They have shown a great trust and belief in me and helped me lead this program."
Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick hailed Brey as a "true coach-educator" who "epitomizes all that a university like ours hopes for in a coach." "The genuine and unique relationships that he has with our players, our community, and his colleagues in college basketball have built a great foundation for the future of our basketball program," said Swarbrick in a statement issued prior to the aforementioned press conference.
Brey's relationships with the media are just as genuine, and I am living proof. As both a broadcaster and writer, I have always enjoyed my interactions with the coach over the years; and I can tell you that he truly does take a genuine and appreciative interest in each question you ask him, as well as make you feel like you not only enjoyed your brief chat, but also got your money's worth from talking to him.
Notre Dame will be one of the favorites in the Big East next season, returning everyone except Tim Abromaitis and Alex Dragicevich after it was announced that swingman Scott Martin received a sixth year of eligibility. Brey also brings in one of his best recruiting classes in recent memory to team with Michigan State transfer Garrick Sherman on a team that should find it rather easy to make a deep run in March.
At least now the Fighting Irish have security at the top of their program, an underrated giant in an unstable conference.