Coach Mike Brey writes autobiography about his life as a player and coach
Notre Dame men's basketball Coach Mike Brey recently released his autobiography Keeping it Loose: Patience, Passion and My Life in Basketball. The book shares stories from more than 30 years of college coaching experience from Duke to Delaware and Notre Dame.
Allison Hayes: You decided to write a book, this season or this off season. Why did you want to do that?
Coach Brey: I have had a charmed life in basketball. Who I've worked for, being here 19 years and the kids that I've coached, the assistants that I've had. And a couple of my friends close to me said 'You should really document that.' And I kind of held them off the last couple of years, then last year, John Heisler who's such a pro and who has done books before with coaches here at Notre Dame… You look back and I've been lucky. I had parents who were educators, that trained me. I played for and worked for Morgan Wooten at DeMatha High School, I was with Mike K. I mean I was just so blessed and so many interesting stories and we thought why not tell them. And it came out and people have had fun with it.
Allison: Is it surreal a little bit to see your picture on the cover of the book and know that you wrote that, this is your life?
Coach Brey: Yeah, it is a little bit, but it's been pretty cool, it really has. And some of the feedback I've enjoyed is from young coaches in the profession who have looked at it a little bit like a manual. Like 'How did you make decisions in your career?' Luckily, I've made some good ones and some were just lucky ones, like getting the job here 19 years ago.
Brey's book, Keeping It Loose: Patience, Passion and My Life in Basketball, shares many anecdotes from his days as a player to more than 30 years as a coach.
Some of the topics the book dives into include the job Coach Brey had for 24 hours before he decided it wasn't for him, the coaching position he thought was his dream job that could have kept him from ever coming to South Bend and how Duke's coach Mike K really feels about Notre Dame.
Allison: Over the years, you and I have gotten pretty in depth about your career, gotten off just basketball - even putting you behind a drum kit and letting you jam out, but your book dives even deeper. And there were things in there that I didn't know. When did you first meet Digger Phelps and how did that affect you taking the Notre Dame job?
Coach Brey: I first met coach in the Rose Garden in 1992, when I was an assistant at Duke. And Digger was there because he was working in the weed and seed program that Bush developed. Always the utmost respect for Coach. And I've really appreciated how coach has been a mentor to me for 19 years. He's the one guy in this town who's sat in my seat. And there's times that he'll pull you aside and say 'Maybe you think about this or relax a little bit.' And I've always appreciated that.
Over the years, Coach Brey has earned the nick name the loosest coach in college basketball and the book title reflects that moniker.
He says while he may not always be that laid back, he tries to always keep that positive outlook on life.
"I'm a little tighter inside than everybody thinks. But for the most part, and maybe it's the high school teacher and coach background in me, is to enjoy the journey and let kids know that they're going to have fun and get kids confident. And I think for young people to get confident and play with a free mind, they can't have someone yelling at them every 30 seconds when they make a mistake. The kind of young men we get here are such high achievers, both academically and basketball wise, they're so hard on themselves when they make a mistake, I'm trying to loosen up a little bit and smile. So that's a little bit of the role I feel here, with the kids that we get; 'Can we enjoy the journey?" Coach Brey said.
Coach Brey is the all-time winningest men's basketball coach in Notre Dame history.
He has won multiple conference and national coach of the year honors.
He has maintained close relationships with his players, which is something that is very important to him.
You can find Coach Brey's book on Amazon, national book sellers and the book stores on the Notre Dame campus.