On the cusp of history: One on One with Head Coach Mike Brey
Notre Dame Men’s Basketball Coach Mike Brey is on the cusp of history.
If Brey's team wins Wednesday against the North Carolina Wolfpack, Brey will win his 394th game with the Irish, becoming the winningest head coach in program history.
“394. Who would have thunk 18 years ago that I would be here long enough to be the all-time winningest coach in the programs history," said the head coach, who sat down one-on-one with ABC 57’s Vahid Sadrzadeh.
To Coach Brey this magic number of 394 has a bigger meaning and requires a deeper appreciation.
"It’s very powerful. It’s very humbling. I think back to the great players that I've had and the great assistant coaches that have helped me and supported me and that have put me in this position,” said Coach Brey.
But the drive for ‘#BreysChase’ started long before the year 2000 when he took over the men's program.
His mother was an Olympian and his father was a former coach and athletic director.
Born in the Hyattsville, Maryland, just outside of Washington, D.C., Coach Brey was raised in a family of educators and coaches and soon bought in to that philosophy.
"I guess I have followed the family business since that's what they did I grabbed the baton and did it," said Coach Brey.
It was his high school coach and longtime mentor, Morgan Wooten, who helped shape those dreams at DeMatha High School.
"Being with Morgan at DeMatha we had a lot of good players and a lot of college coaches were coming through to recruit. And you would develop relationships with college coaches. I always considered myself like Morgan Wooten and my dad 30-year, 40-year high school educators. Then I went to Duke and things changed," said Coach Brey.
And did they ever!
Eight years under the leadership of Coach Mike Krzyzewski at Duke, then on to the University of Delaware, where Brey led the Blue Hens to 99 wins in five seasons.
At the helm of the Irish, Brey turned the program from possible to perennial contenders even as Notre Dame switched from the Big East to the ACC Conference.
12 NCAA Tournament appearances.
Three Sweet Sixteens and back-to-back Elite Eights.
And the memory highlight reel has only gotten better in recent years.
"The ACC Championship in 2015 and going through Duke and North Carolina on Tobacco Road has to be one of the greatest achievements in this programs history, if not the greatest achievement," said Coach Brey.
2018 is already shaping up to be a memorable year for the Irish.
An early season Maui Invitational win saw the potential of this unit plus a glimpse at one of the most laid back styles in all of college basketball.
"The shirt off with the lay on after the championship game was a spur of the moment. I don't know if we should have let that out of the locker room because it certainly got some play. I think that would live in infamy. But hey if we make it to the Final Four or ACC Championship, I may take the shirt off again, it may be time to go back to it," said Brey.
And the goal of a Final Four is always in his sights with the programs only appearance under the coach he will be passing with one lone victory.
One thing is for sure, the magic number of 394 is not bad for a guy who had only one goal when he first arrived at the Golden Dome.
"When I think back to the day I was hired July 14, 2000, I was just trying not to get fired. Little did I know that I would be here 18 years and have a chance to win 394 games," said Coach Brey.