SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) — Notre Dame’s winningest men’s basketball coach, Mike Brey, has decided to step down at the end of his school-record 23rd season, school officials announced Thursday.
The 63-year-old Brey arrived in July 2000, taking over a stagnant program and guiding it back to national prominence and title contention in two different conferences.
Brey’s 481 victories at Notre Dame rank sixth among active coaches at their current schools and his 580 career wins rank 50th in Division I history. Before joining the Irish, he coached Delaware for five seasons and earned NCAA tourney bids twice in his last three years with the Blue Hens.
Notre Dame’s program fell on hard times after Digger Phelps retired in 1991. The Irish did not make an NCAA Tournament appearance from 1990 until Brey’s first season in 2000-01 and only made three NIT appearances during that span.
Brey changed everything, taking Notre Dame to the NCAA tourney 13 times and winning 15 games, tied for the most in school history. And the Irish were the only Division I school to make consecutive Elite Eight runs in the 2015 and 2016 season.
Lately, though, it’s been more of a challenge. The Irish ended a five-year tourney drought last season when they went 24-11, but have struggled to a 9-8 mark this season, going 1-5 in Atlantic Coast Conference play.