Coach Brey's two passions: Basketball and drumming
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - In the up tempo world of college basketball, sometimes coaches need to slow down their rhythm. Notre Dame Head Coach Mike Brey does it through music.
Coach Brey grew up around music and took up playing the drums when he was 7 years old.
"My Uncle Tommy lived up in Pennsylvania about 4 hours from the DC area where I was raised and he had a set and he played in a little local band, nothing big and when I would visit my uncle, I would get up on the drums and I thought that was fun to play and then he would kind of show me some stuff and it kind of became a passion of mine along with playing basketball at a young age," Coach Brey said.
That passion only grew.
"I remember getting a drum set for Christmas when I was probably 10 and you know played that and put my sister's record player on and tried to keep up to different songs, so it's always been in my blood," Coach Brey said.
When he was young, what did he want to be when he grew up?
"I was a basketball player. My one uncle was a drummer, my other uncle was a guard at Duke. My uncle Jack (Mullen) and I wanted to be like my uncle Jack. So the basketball passion took over the drumming passion but in the off-season the drumming passion is right there. Now it's my outlet," Coach Brey said.
The basketball player in him always found a way to connect the music to the sport.
"It's an athletic, hand eye coordination. A lot of practice to be good at it," Coach Brey said.
That practice paid off. His skills on the drums have caught the attention of other musicians
"I got away from it but since I've been in town I've kind of circled back a little bit, by help of Vyagra Falls and Dr. Jesse, they've recruited me and they let me sit in and they play easy songs so I can keep up with them," Coach Brey said.
Locally and on the big stage as well.
"I got to play with Todd Rundgren, "Bang on the Drum All Day," a song that I used to listen to back in the 80s-70s when I was a high school guy and that was a really neat experience. He went easy on me, he was coaching me up and giving me confidence. I was very intimidated, playing with him singing it back in the fall," Coach Brey said.
But it's the boss that really gets Coach Brey going!
"You know I'm a big Springsteen guy, that was my era. When I was going to school at GW, a lot of the student body was from Jersey. Everybody had those albums and I got hooked on them back in the 80s"
While he has seen Springsteen in concert five times, Coach Brey says he likes all types of music.
"You know, jazz on game day up until about an hour before keeps me down here, instead of anxious. I went through a phase of being a big country star," Coach Brey said. "Reggae, I love it all, I really do."
Even using music as a way to connect with his players.
Do the players try to get him into hip-hop or rap?
"I feel like I'm a hip-hop fan because we have music going the first 15 minutes of practice. And VJ Beachum, since he's the captain, it's his iPod plugged into the speaker, so I know them all. Before the game in the locker room, there's music going. Like, I know the top 10 hits, I've heard them now for about 5 months," Coach Brey said. "I'm a big Jay Z guy, I really love his stuff. Of course I feel connected to him, we've played so well in Brooklyn and Barclays Center is kind of his baby so maybe there's a little connection there with the Irish and Jay Z."
A little connection that Brey hopes will help him keep the beat with the Irish come March.
"It's good training for the job I have," Coach Brey said.
Whether his Irish are crashing boards or he's crashing cymbals.