College basketball: 10 potential Mike Brey replacements

After the way the 2022-23 season has gone it wasn’t the most surprising news to hear that Mike Brey would step down as Notre Dame’s head basketball coach at season’s end.  The Irish, who went to the NCAA Tournament 12 times in Brey’s first 17 seasons, have gone dancing just once since the 2017-18 year.

Brey mentioned in his press conference Friday that he’d be helping athletic director Jack Swarbrick find the next head coach.  Will Brey and his boss have to go very far?  Will it be someone with Notre Dame roots?  Or could they get really creative in who they decide to pursue?

Here are ten names to look at as Notre Dame hits reset on their men’s basketball program.

Monty Williams - Phoenix Suns

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If you’re leading a truly thorough search you have to at least make the call, right?  Williams just signed a contract extension with the Phoenix Suns this past off-season as they’ve had major success the last few seasons.  However, they’re just 21-24 this season and with Chris Paul not getting any younger, maybe there is a chance?  Even with minimal chances, make him say no.

Chris Quinn - Miami Heat

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The former Notre Dame captain and all Big East guard is the longest tenured assistant coach on Erik Spoelstra’s staff with the Miami Heat.  Some in NBA ranks think it won’t be long until he gets his own NBA head coach job but a young gun who already has so much experience in player development could end up being a home run for Swarbrick if he were able to pull it off.

Sean Sweeney - Dallas Mavericks

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Like Quinn, Sweeney lacks head coaching experience but is his eighth year as an NBA assistant with previous stops with the Nets and Bucks.  Sweeney resides in South Bend during the off-season and is said to a Notre Dame football season ticket holder.  He, Quinn, or Williams being able to sell their NBA experience would be huge in recruiting.

Porter Moser - Oklahoma

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So you’re looking for someone to lead a Catholic, Mid West university’s basketball program and achieve sustained success while having a high ceiling?  Porter Moser is only in his second season at Oklahoma but turned Loyola (Chicago) into an NCAA Tournament regular and was able to guide them to a Final Four in recent years.

Michael Shrewsberry - Penn State

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If you’re a believer in having someone leading who knows how to get where you desire, Shrewsberry would make a lot of sense.  He’s had some success at Penn State which also brings the experience of handling things at a football school like Notre Dame.  However, Shrewsberry was a longtime assistant of Brad Stevens both at Butler and with the Boston Celtics.  Want to be the best program in Indiana?  Having the right-hand-man of the best college basketball coach the state has seen in at least the last 20 years wouldn’t seem like a bad idea.

Pat Kelsey - Charleston

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Kelsey turned Winthrop into a winner, reaching the NCAA Tournament twice during his nine years as head coach.  Kelsey has turned Charleston into something special this year as they’re a remarkable 20-1 on the year.  If he’s going to take the next step in coaching then Notre Dame should seriously consider pursuing him.

Martin Inglesby - Delaware

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The last time Notre Dame had an opening for basketball head coach things turned out well by going to Delaware and finding Brey.  Inglesby is a former Notre Dame guard and in recent years has helped turn the Blue Hens around.  After going just 44-55 in his first three seasons, Delaware is 62-41 since the start of the 2019-20 season.

Darian DeVries - Drake

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Since leaving Greg McDermott’s shadow at Creighton, DeVries has found success at Drake.  The Bulldogs are 106-43 overall since he took over in 2018.  DeVries is 47-years old and would theoretically be at that point of his career where he’s looking to take the next step.  They’re currently 14-6 on the year.

Steve Pikiell - Rutgers

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He’s not a young gun by any means but has helped turn Rutgers back into a tournament team after inheriting a mess.  When Notre Dame peaked under Brey it was largely thanks to the athleticism of Connaughton, Grant, Colson, and others.  That athleticism hasn’t been nearly as deep in recent years and is something Pikiell has recruited with regularity to Rutgers.

Anthony Solomon - Notre Dame

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The former Virginia has been a college basketball assistant for parts of the last three decades and was part of Brey’s staff during 10 trips to the NCAA Tournament, which includes both runs to the Elite Eight.  Solomon has experience at Notre Dame and an understanding of how the recruiting game has changed for the Irish with NIL in recent years.  As much as I’d like to root for a promotion from within, Brey speaking about a new voice being needed during his press conference sounded like it spoke to that voice coming from someone currently on the outside.

BONUS - John Calipari - Kentucky

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Before you slam your laptop shut or toss your phone – hear me out.  Please.

You want Notre Dame home games to instantly have a buzz they have simply lacked for the last five years or so?  Do you want a coach that is able to attract top talent wherever he coaches?  Calipari certainly comes with a little baggage but if they’re really that sick of him in Lexington then perhaps it could be like Lou Holtz going to South Carolina after his relationship with Notre Dame tired.

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Story originally appeared on Fighting Irish Wire