Jack Nolan shares his top 5 moments in Notre Dame basketball
Jack Nolan from Fighting Irish Media joins ABC57's Allison Hayes to share his top 5 moments from Notre Dame basketball and Coach Mike Brey's career.
Allison: Well, we are joined now by Jack Nolan of course, you know him from Notre Dame for many, many years, 37 to be exact, calling Notre Dame basketball games and Jack you have seen so many games, so many moments throughout Mike Brey's career.
Jack Nolan/Fighting Irish Media: Oh absolutely and it's been a wonderful, wonderful ride. Here are my top 5. First is the very first year of Coach's career, getting Notre Dame back into the NCAA tournament after an 11 year drought. To watch Troy Murphy and David Graves right at mid-court in Kansas City, like race horses, dying to get on the court, because you can't step onto the court until it's your time for that first NCAA practice that was just amazing. For me and a lot of Notre Dame fans, they have great respect for the Indiana basketball program, but beating Indiana down in Bloomington the last scheduled game between these two teams in the 2004 season was such a wonderful moment for all of us who suffered so many both big and tight losses down there. It was the first time they won down there since the '73-'74 season. That was huge.
Allison: So exciting to see them play, home and home too. Now, we have the Crossroads Classic and it's great to see those teams match up again. So good for the state of Indiana and for the programs.
Jack: The big problem is neither team wants to get locked into that with the ACC Big Ten challenge. It's another challenging game that you have a very good chance of losing, especially when you're on the road and nobody wants that kind of risk every year.
Allison: Absolutely. Number 3 for you?
Jack: Louisville. 5 OT's one of the great challenges of my life. One of the most exciting, unbelievable games I've ever attended and to be able to call it and have my voice make it throughout the 5 overtimes. I was getting texts from Jay Bilas. Everybody in the country was watching that game. What a great juxtaposition, a very uptight Rick Pitino screaming at his team and Mike Brey going, 'Hey isn't this fun?' And it was. It was a lot of fun.
Allison: It was so much fun. I absolutely love that. Okay, number 2?
Jack: Number 2. Back to back Elite Eights. I'm not sure I'd ever see that. Now, maybe it's because number one had already happened. We'll get to that in a moment. But to see this team get to the Elite Eight in back to back years, in all honesty, Duke got Notre Dame's seed the first year they got to the Elite Eight under Mike Brey. Had Notre Dame had to not play Kentucky in the Eastern Regional Final, and they almost beat them, that was Notre Dame's most recent Final Four team. It would've added a second to Digger's Final Four team, back in the late 70s. But what a great accomplishment that was for Notre Dame basketball.
Allison: What a fun team to watch and that leads us right up to number one for you.
Jack: I bet you can guess it. Are you kidding me? Winning the ACC tournament your second year in the league in North Carolina by beating Duke and Carolina to be ACC champions. I honestly never thought I'd see the day. Just last year, Notre Dame got back to the title game. It's been a great ride, but that, I almost had trouble, hopefully, nobody could tell, that they had won. That they had found the pot of gold with shamrocks at the end of the rainbow the ACC tournament rainbow. Very emotional, cause they had really gotten to the top of the mountain.
Allison: You've seen so much from Coach Brey and the players that have come through here. The other coaches that have been here, what is it about Coach Brey that makes him so special for Notre Dame?
Jack: Because he make such a great connection to the players. He is easy going, but he's tough love when he needs to be and he really doesn't let stuff get to him. He doesn't have all of the amenities, all of the tools that some of the powers have the Dukes, the Carolinas. He's like, 'Alright, we're just going to make it work. And if something goes wrong, okay, let's just move onto the next one.' He's a perfect fit for this place. He especially believes in the young men that fit well here and he's just a great guy to be in the trenches with both when things are going well and when things aren't.
Allison: Absolutely. Well, we can't wait to see what Coach Brey does this season, but we can't wait to hear your voice making the call whenever he does whatever he does this year for the Irish. Thank you so much, Jack for joining us.
Jack: My pleasure.