Keep Coach Brey
Letter to the Editor | Thursday, April 2, 2009
For as disappointed as I am in our men’s basketball team’s performance this past season, I have to disagree with Kevin Sonn and his desire for the University to fire Coach Mike Brey for a number of reasons. Sonn, along with many others, has an issue with the style of play that Brey coaches, which is understandable. We do shoot a lot of threes and we are not an adept defensive team. However, Brey plays this style out of necessity and because, as the coach at Notre Dame, he is limited in a number of ways other Big East and national contenders are not.
This is not a fault of Brey, but rather an implication of the University and the athletic department. Brey’s teams play in an outdated, run-down facility, complete with duct tape holding together seats in the lower bowl. The practice facilities are on the same level. And, unlike football, the basketball team does not have the storied tradition (or unwavering fan support) to entice recruits despite these shortcomings.
Because of these factors, and the higher academic standards to which Notre Dame holds its student-athletes, recruiting is a serious challenge for Brey. This is not to mention the fact that the team competes in the Big East, widely regarded as the toughest conference in the country.
Before Coach Brey came to Notre Dame in 2001, the Irish hadn’t been in the NCAA Tournament since 1990. In Brey’s nine seasons as head coach, Notre Dame has made the tournament five times and Brey has been named the Big East Coach of the Year twice. The University, recognizing its deficiencies with regards to the basketball program, will finally update the facilities this offseason to a level which will allow Brey to compete with the rest of the conference on a level playing field.
I am not claiming that Brey can take this program to national prominence given the right set of circumstances (there are actually a number of reasons to believe that he cannot). However, I also think it is wrong to close the book on him before he even has the chance.