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Coolican: Ten potential successors for Mike Brey

| Monday, January 23, 2023

Mike Brey’s announcement that he would step down at the end of the season means that Notre Dame will begin the process of searching for a new head coach for the first time in nearly 23 years — before most current students were even born. Brey’s act will certainly be a tough one to follow, but there is no shortage of suitable candidates. With that in mind, here are ten potential options for athletic director Jack Swarbrick to consider. 

Martin Ingelsby, head coach, Delaware

If Swarbrick wants to stay within the Brey coaching tree, Ingelsby makes a lot of sense. He was a star point guard for the Irish from 1997 to 2001 and eventually landed a job on Brey’s staff. He eventually moved on to become the head coach at Delaware in 2016. Ingelsby has slowly but steadily improved what was a floundering program when he took over, returning to the NCAA tournament last year. While Notre Dame more than likely wants to move in another direction after 23 years under Brey, if they hope to find his protegé, Ingelsby should get the call. 

Sean Sweeney, assistant coach, Dallas Mavericks 

The 38-year-old Sweeney has quietly developed a name for himself in the NBA coaching ranks. He has followed an unconventional path — he is a former Division III point guard — but he has become known as one of the top defensive minds in basketball and has personally helped develop stars such as Giannis Antetokounmpo. To top things off, he is a huge Notre Dame fan, a football season ticket holder and has an offseason home in South Bend. He wouldn’t be the most conventional hire, but the upside is unquestionable. 

John Beilein, senior player development advisor, Detroit Pistons 

Beilein has been out of the college game for a few years now, but his success at Michigan is unquestioned. He racked up 278 wins as the head coach for the Wolverines and took them to nine NCAA tournaments in twelve years. He is also a devout Catholic and knows how to win at a Midwest, academically rigorous, football-focused school. He’s a proven winner who fits perfectly with Notre Dame’s culture; the only downside is the Irish may be looking for someone younger. 

Monty Williams, head coach, Phoenix Suns 

Williams is the ultimate long shot. It would be very difficult to lure away the head coach of an NBA Finals contender, but Notre Dame has to at least pick up the phone. Williams was a star for the Irish from 1989 to 1994 and is now widely considered one of the best coaches in the NBA. This would be extraordinarily unlikely, but if there is a home run hire on this list, Williams is it. 

Anthony Solomon, associate head coach, Notre Dame

Should Notre Dame promote internally, Solomon has more than earned his shot. He has been in college basketball for nearly 35 years and has been a part of Brey’s best teams with the Irish. He brings head coaching experience, having led St. Bonaventure from 2003-2007 and also coordinates Notre Dame’s recruiting efforts. Unlike other names on this list, the transition would be fairly smooth. 

Chris Quinn, assistant head coach, Miami Heat

Quinn, a two-time captain as a player under Brey, would be another intriguing, up-and-coming option for the Irish. After playing six years in the NBA, he joined the Miami Heat staff as an assistant coach. It may be difficult to lure him away from the NBA ranks — he is expected to be in consideration for a head coaching job sooner rather than later, but he would be another high-upside hire who has Midwest roots and knows the program well.  

Porter Moser, head coach, Oklahoma

If Swarbrick wants to poach the head coach from another high-major program, Moser is the first name that comes to mind. Fans will remember him from Loyola Chicago’s Cinderella run to the Final Four in 2018, and Moser has since parlayed that success into the job at Oklahoma. He found modest success in his first year with the Sooners, but Notre Dame has to be an attractive job for him and he has shown he can win at a Midwest, Catholic school, so he fits well.

Ryan Humphrey, assistant coach, Oklahoma 

A member of Moser’s staff could very well be an even more attractive hire. Humphrey spent six years as an assistant for Brey and spent two years with the Irish as a player. While in South Bend, he was key in the development of forwards Bonzie Colson and John Mooney, among others. Known for his player development, he would be a natural successor to Brey in that he can get the most out of players. 

Darian DeVries, head coach, Drake

As far as mid-major coaches looking for a promotion go, DeVries is likely near the top of every athletic director’s wish list. The two-time Missouri Valley Conference coach of the year has been at Drake since 2018 and has built a perennially successful program in what is a tough area to recruit in. His success as a program-builder may be exactly what Notre Dame needs as they rebuild from what has been a rough season.

Anthony Grant, head coach, Dayton

Grant is another coach who brings a great deal of experience. He led VCU for three years, before taking over at Alabama for six. Most recently, he has been at Dayton since 2017. His 2019-2020 squad was among the best mid-major teams in recent memory, and he could be in line for a promotion. His relatively poor record at Alabama is a question mark, but his experience makes him an intriguing option nonetheless.

Contact Liam Coolican at [email protected]

The views in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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