Notre Dame and hoops coach Mike Brey agree to contract extension
SOUTH BEND, Ind. - For the next seven seasons, Notre Dame men's basketball will continue to build under the direction of Mike Brey.
The program announced Tuesday that Brey and the program agreed to a contract extension through the 2024-25 season.
Since this could prove to be Brey's final contract in South Bend, it made him think back to his first.
"You get here and you're just trying to survive every day," Brey said of his early days. "I've been honored to coach here. With the kind of guys I get to work with, the personalities and the intelligence, it's a special place to work. I've got some years left in me."
The past year has been one full of reflection for Brey, who passed several milestones in his 18th season in South Bend.
In January, he passed Digger Phelps for the Notre Dame men's basketball wins record at 394. He won his 400th game with the Irish in late February, becoming the 11th active coach to reach the feat at his current school. Then, the first of two ACC Tournament wins in March gave Brey his 500th overall victory.
“Mike Brey has built one of the most consistently successful programs in the country,” athletic director Jack Swarbrick said in a program release. “And the foundation of that success is a winning culture that develops the members of his teams as both basketball players and young men. He is a perfect fit for Notre Dame and we are excited to have him lead our program well into the future.”
Though the Irish are still trying to build towards the program's first national championship, there has undoubtedly been sustained success during Brey's tenure - especially in recent years.
The current class of outgoing seniors graduates as the most accomplished in school history, with a record 103 total wins, the 2016 ACC title, and back-to-back Elite Eight appearances in 2015 and 2016. The Irish missed the NCAA Tournament this season, but still captured the 14th 20-win season since Brey was hired, also a new school record.
While rumors sometimes swirl of Brey being a fitting successor to his former boss and mentor, Duke's Mike Krzyzewski, he insists that Notre Dame is still his preferred coaching job. Once again, he's proven it on the dotted line.
"I'm not interested in coaching at another college," he said, going on to list the reasons why not.
"I love where we are. I love the guys coming in. The practice facility has me excited, and that will be cool. I'm thrilled with where we're at. I love where my staff is right now. We're on pretty solid ground with it all."
The new extension adds three seasons onto Brey's existing contract, which was set to end after the 2021-22 season.
Brey will turn 65 by the end of this contract, and will have coached 25 seasons with the Irish. That would be a new school record as well, as Phelps and George E. Koegan both coached 20.
While there are no signs of slowing down yet, Brey says the plan for now will be retirement at its completion.
"That should be it," he said. "I'm 59 and feel like I have good energy. I feel like it'll be time to do something else [after this contract ends], but maybe I'll be like [Syracuse coach Jim] Boeheim or Krzyzewski and go until I'm 70. Who knows?"
But if he does call it a career after this latest extension, he'll have achieved the goal he made public at his introductory press conference in July of 2000.
"As I said 18 years ago, you're hoping you can be good enough to retire here and to not get run out of town. With this one we just signed, I may just pull it off."