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Basketball response

Letter to the Editor | Monday, March 6, 2006

I am writing in response to the recent letter to the editor concerning Mike Brey, the men’s basketball coach, written by John F. Chute, class of 1976 (“Higher standards for men’s basketball” March 1).

Before I begin, let it be known that I work at DeMatha Catholic High School, Brey’s alma mater. I also attended DeMatha with Brey so I make no bones about being an avid supporter of the basketball team.

What surprises me is that the student newspaper would print such an error-filled, arrogant letter by an angry alum who clearly has an agenda.

Permit me if you will as I would like to dispute a few of Chute’s points.

1. This is Notre Dame’s 11th season in The Big East (not 14th). WIthout question, The Big East is the best basketball conference in the nation. Without taking anything away from Digger Phelps, but Coach Phelps’s teams played a much easier independent schedule.

2. The author’s contention that he is not qualified to analyze basketball and then proceeding to give his lengthy error-filled analysis. I thought Notre Dame grads were smarter than that.

3. His assertion that a “prima donna” brought down the squads of ’05 and ’04 without recognizing what that same “prima donna” did in his first two years at Notre Dame.

4. His absurd comparison of the recent Marquette-Notre Dame game to that of a matchup of the Harlem Globetrotters- Washington Generals. If you recall, Notre Dame was leading in the Marquette game in the second half and finally lost by eight points, thanks to the efforts of a gifted opposing player. Having attended numerous Harlem Globetrotter games as a youth, I can assure you that the games I saw were never close to being competitive, as we all know.

5. His criticism of Brey’s coaching against Arizona in the Sweet 16 a few years back. Perhaps the author should understand that there is a shot clock in college basketball! Furthermore, the last time I checked, the purpose of the game is to outscore your opponent!

6. His criticism of Athletic Director Kevin White’s hiring of Brey despite the tremendous success Brey achieved as a head coach at the University of Delaware and as an assistant at Duke.

7. His comment that Duke University had an inferior history of achievement in men’s basketball prior to 1982. I ask the author to go do his research and see that Duke had Final Four appearances in both the 1960s and 1970s.

8. His comment that the program is in a “vegetative state.” Excuse me? Three NCAA appearances and two NIT appearances, a vegetative state? What color is the sky in your universe?

9. His criteria for the contract of a head basketball coach. I can assure you that no coach in America, including Coach K of Duke, would ever sign a contract saying that he must finish in the Top 10 of the national rankings each year.

10. His conclusion that Notre Dame was not going to make The Big East Tournament. Way to jump ship and support your alma mater.

As I said before, I am a Brey apologist. I understand the losses have been very tough this year and home attendance is down a fraction. But let’s face it, Notre Dame has been competing very well at the highest of levels and has missed success by the narrowest of margins. And I have to believe that the Irish are getting good TV ratings.

Go Irish!

Thomas PontonDirector of DevelopmentDeMatha Catholic High SchoolMarch 5