Notre Dame Basketball Coaches Receive High Praise

Bryan Driskell

The Notre Dame basketball staff received high praise in recent days.

Head coach Mike Brey was named one of the 25 best college basketball coaching hires of the past 25 years. Brey ranked as ESPN’s 14th best hire.

“Brey chose his mentors well. When you've been an assistant to both Morgan Wootten (DeMatha High School, 1982-87) and Mike Krzyzewski (Duke, 1987-95), you're tough to beat in that category. The Fighting Irish have been to 12 of the 19 NCAA tournaments that have been played since his hiring, and ND nearly beat team of the decade Kentucky in the 2015 Elite Eight.”

Brey ranked ahead of coaches like Rick Pitino (Louisville), Shaka Smart (VCU), Matt Painter (Purdue) Jamie Dixon (Pittsburgh) and Frank Martin (South Carolina).

The Notre Dame head coach is entering his 21st season in charge of the Fighting Irish program. Brey has compiled a 437-233 (.652) record and led the Irish to 12 NCAA Tournament appearances.

Assistant coach Rod Balanis has been with Brey throughout his career. He was also honored for his achievements, being named as one of the 50 most impactful assistant coaches. The honor came from Silver Waves Media.

“Balanis has helped bring a consistent level of success to the Notre Dame basketball program over the last 20 years. Since his first year, Irish teams have earned NCAA Tournament berths in 12 seasons, including the 2014-15 squad that finished the season with a 32-6 record (second-most wins in school history) and advanced to the program’s first NCAA Elite Eight appearance since 1979. Additionally, Balanis has played a key role in the development of some great Irish players, including Luke Harangody (All-American), Jack Cooley (1st Team All-Big East), Jerian Grant (All-American/NBA), and Pat Connaughton (NBA). He was the point man of both Grant and Connaughton's recruitment. Balanis played at Georgia Tech for the legendary Bobby Cremins and enjoyed two Sweet 16s and Final Four appearances as a player.”

After missing the NCAA Tournament for three straight seasons, Brey, Balanis and the entire Notre Dame staff will look to get the program back on track in 2020-21. A strong backcourt and talented incoming freshman class will be the keys.

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