Men’s Basketball head coach Mike Brey is the right man for the job at Notre Dame, and athletic director Jack Swarbrick made sure he left no doubt about that on Tuesday when he rewarded Brey with a new 10-year contract.
Brey has completely changed the expectations for ND’s mens basketball program. Before he came along, Notre Dame had not reached the NCAA Tournament in over a decade. Since Brey was hired in 2000, the Irish have qualified for the NCAA’s eight times, and have even gone undefeated at home in three of the past six seasons (the only other team to do so — Kansas). Notre Dame has been knocking on the door for a conference title the past few years, and the upcoming season appears to be its best chance yet.
In his press conference announcing the new contract for Brey, Jack Swarbrick elevated Irish basketball expectations to an entirely new level this season — expectations that would be unthinkable twelve years ago:
“We’re in business to win NCAA championships, and if I didn’t think Mike Brey could win an NCAA championship in basketball, we wouldn’t be sitting here today. I believe he can, I believe this program can. In some ways relative to winning a national championship, Mike has done all the hard work, he just needs to win six games in March now. The hard stuff is building the foundation. We’re the national champions in graduation rate in college basketball. We got all the hard stuff done. We’ll go the last mile now.”
While Swarbrick may be slightly underestimating the difficulty of winning six straight games in the NCAA Tournament, he is absolutely right to have extreme confidence in Coach Brey. Recruiting is undoubtedly on the upswing, and the talent that Brey now has available at this disposal is at an all-time high. Couple that with the great strength of the Big East, and the constant national exposure that the Irish receive each year and you can see why everyone in South Bend is salivating for the…basketball season?