Longtime Notre Dame basketball coach Mike Brey to retire after season

Notre Dame's Mike Brey is the program's all-time winningest men's basketball coach and he's led the team to 13 NCAA tournament appearances. (AP Photo/Jacob Kupferman)
Notre Dame's Mike Brey is the program's all-time winningest men's basketball coach and he's led the team to 13 NCAA tournament appearances. (AP Photo/Jacob Kupferman)

The 2022-23 season will be Mike Brey’s last at Notre Dame.

Brey, who has been the head coach of the Fighting Irish since 2000, will retire at the end of the season, the school announced Thursday. According to the South Bend Tribune, Brey intended to inform his team of his plan to step away after Thursday’s practice.

Brey, 63, is the program’s all-time winningest coach. He holds a 481-267 record in South Bend, with 13 NCAA tournament appearances.

“Mike and I have talked often in recent years about a future transition in the program’s leadership, and during our most recent conversation we reached the mutual conclusion that the end of this season represented the right time,” Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick said in a statement.

“That Mike is the winningest coach in the 119-year history of Notre Dame men’s basketball speaks to his skill as a teacher of the game. His even greater legacy, however, lies in his achievements as an educator and mentor of the young men who played for him. In that sense, he represents this university as well as any coach I have worked with during my time at Notre Dame. And for that reason, I look forward to working with Mike to define his future role within Notre Dame Athletics.”

Added Brey:

“It has been a great run for me and our program over the past two decades, but it is time for a new voice to lead this group into the future. I want to thank our student-athletes, assistant coaches and support staff who have played such a key role in the culture we have created.”

Notre Dame has struggled in recent seasons

The Irish reached the Elite Eight in 2015 and 2016 but have appeared in the NCAA tournament just twice since then. Last year’s team reached the Round of 32, but the Irish have struggled this season, even with most of the production from last season back in the fold.

Since a 5-0 start, the Irish have lost 10 of their past 14 games to fall to 9-10. On Tuesday, they lost 84-71 at home to Florida State, a team that entered the game with a 5-13 record. In that matchup, FSU jumped to a 32-8 lead midway through the first half and cruised to a victory. With the loss, Notre Dame fell to 1-7 in ACC play. Notre Dame’s next game is Saturday at home vs. Boston College.

Brey came to Notre Dame in 2000 following a five-year stint as the head coach at the University of Delaware. He led the Irish to the NCAA tournament in his first three seasons. Before Brey’s arrival, Notre Dame hadn’t participated in March Madness in its previous 11 seasons.

Brey went on to win Big East Coach of the Year on three occasions. He later guided the Irish’s basketball transition into the ACC and endured his first losing season in 2013-14. The next two seasons, however, the Irish advanced all the way to the Elite Eight. Notably, the Irish also won the ACC tournament for the first time in 2015. In the 2016-17 season, Notre Dame got back to the tournament but lost in the second round as a No. 5 seed.

In the five seasons since, Notre Dame has reached the NCAA tournament just once — last year’s second-round exit as an 11-seed. Amid this year’s rough start, Brey decided it’s time to step away from coaching.

“I leave this place with immense gratitude to the university, and I’m proud of everything we’ve accomplished together," Brey said. "I look forward to working with Jack in any role that can help the Notre Dame family."