Potential Candidates to Replace Mike Brey at Notre Dame

(Photo: Matt Cashore, USA TODAY Sports)

Notre Dame announced Thursday that Mike Brey‘s tenure with the Irish would come to an end upon the conclusion of the 2022-23 basketball season. He will address the mutual decision with Notre Dame Friday, Jan. 20, at 11:00 am ET.

The following are candidates Irish Illustrated believes Notre Dame will consider for the position of head basketball coach.

• Jay Wright, 61, former Villanova head coach – Likely the longest of longshots since he retired from coaching following his 21St season at Villanova in 2021-22. But a member of a select group of college basketball royalty that requires a “no, I’m not interested” before completely closing the book.

Included on his resume’ are two NCAA titles, two other Final Fours, 16 NCAA tournaments in 21 seasons with the Wildcats, and six Big East titles over his final nine seasons. Wright was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame as a member of the Class of 2021.

A molder of young men, a dynamic presence on the court and the recruiting trail, and a class act top to bottom. A phone call from Notre Dame is virtually impossible to bypass.

• Sean Sweeney, 38, Dallas Mavericks assistant – The Saint Paul, Minn. product played one season at Wisconsin-Green Bay before transferring to the University of St. Thomas (in St. Paul) where he was a three-year starter and all-conference guard in 2005-06. After introductory level positions at Northern Iowa and Evansville, he landed assistant coaching positions at small colleges before ascending to the NBA, where he began as the Brooklyn Nets’ video coordinator under Jason Kidd and expanded into a full-time assistant’s role at the age of 29. He moved on to the Milwaukee Bucks, Detroit Pistons and the Dallas Mavericks, where he reunited with Kidd.

Sweeney’s reputation as a defensive guru is well known in the NBA. He is considered a strong future NBA head coaching candidate. He has been credited by two-time MVP and NBA champion Giannis Antetokounmpo for his assistance in his development. Sweeney is a lifelong Notre Dame football fan who owns a home in South Bend.

• Chris Quinn, 39, Miami Heat assistant – The former standout Notre Dame guard – he scored 1,454 points and dished 428 assists under Mike Brey — is one of the more well-respected NBA assistants in the league. After serving as an assistant at Northwestern under Chris Collins, first as the director of player development, Quinn jumped to the NBA with the Miami Heat as an assistant under head coach Erik Spoelstra and has been with the franchise ever since.

Quinn is a future candidate to be an NBA head coach. While there is interest in returning to his alma mater, he is more likely to remain in the professional ranks and continue pursuing a head-coaching opportunity in the NBA.

• Darian DeVries, 47, Drake head coach – Played at Northern Iowa in the mid-to-late 1990s. He joined Dana Altman’s staff at Creighton as a graduate manager and was named an assistant in 2001 where he would remain through 2018 under head coach Greg McDermott.

DeVries is now in his fifth season at Drake in Des Moines, Iowa, the state in which he was born. He is en route to his fifth straight 20-plus victory season. In the four seasons prior to his arrival, the Bulldogs were a combined 40-87.

Since taking over in 2018, Drake has gone 109-46, including a 26-5, 15-3 mark as a member of the Missouri Valley Conference that placed the Bulldogs in the NCAA tournament and earned DeVries league coach of the year honors for the Second time in three seasons. Drake won his first NCAA tournament game in 50 years with a victory over Wichita State. The Bulldogs are currently 14-6, 5-4.

DeVries’ son, Tucker, is a sophomore guard for the Bulldogs who leads the team in scoring at 18.6 points per game after averaging 13.9 as a freshman.

• Pat Kelsey, 47, Charleston head coach – Wyoming/Xavier point guard out of Cincinnati made stops as an assistant at Wake Forest under Skip Prosser and Xavier under Chris Mack before landing the Winthrop head coaching job in 2012, where he inherited a program that had waned following the departure of head coach Gregg Marshall. Kelsey changed that by his second year by going 20-13, 10-6.

Over his final eight seasons at Winthrop, the Eagles went 172-78 with four first-place Big South finishes, two seconds and two thirds. That led him to Charleston where after a 17-15, 8-10 first season last year, the Cougars are currently 20-1, 8-0 in the Colonial Athletic Association. They’ve won 19 games in a row with their lone loss coming at then-No. 1 North Carolina on Nov. 11.

Kelsey, like DeVries, is one of the hottest head-coaching names in college basketball.

• Micah Shrewsberry, 46, Penn State head coach – The Indianapolis product played college basketball at Hanover (Ind.) College before Indiana-based coaching stops at Wabash, DePauw, Indiana University at South Bend, Butler and Purdue. At Butler, he coached under Brad Stevens, and at Purdue, he worked for Matt Painter.

Shrewsberry was reunited with Stevens in 2013 as an NBA assistant with the Boston Celtics from 2013-19 before returning to Purdue in 2019 under Painter. He was named head coach at Penn State prior to the 2021-22 season, inheriting the program from Jim Ferry (11-4, 7-12 in 2020-21).

The Nittany Lions went 14-17, 7-13 in his first year in State College and are currently 12-6, 3-4 with victories over Illinois, Iowa and Indiana. Penn State also fell in double-overtime to current ACC leader Clemson.

• Bryce Drew, 48, Grand Canyon head coach – The legendary Valparaiso star known for “The Shot” in the 1998 NCAA tournament that gave the No. 13 seeded Crusaders an upset victory over No. 4 seed Mississippi. He was the 16th overall pick in the NBA draft and spent seven seasons in the basketball big leagues. He played and coached at Valparaiso under his father, Homer Drew. He is the younger brother of Baylor head coach Scott Drew, who won the 200-21 NCAA championship with the Bears.

Drew’s first head-coaching job came at his alma mater, where he replaced his father in 2011. In five seasons, Drew went 124-49 with four Horizon League championships. That catapulted him to the head coaching position at Vanderbilt, where he inherited a winning program in 2016 from Kevin Stallings, who had moved on to Pittsburgh. Drew went 19-16, 10-8 in his first season, 12-20, 6-12 in his second and 9-23, 0-18 in his third.

Two years later, Drew was named head coach at Grand Canyon of the Western Athletic Conference. He inherited a 13-17, 8-8 team from former Phoenix Suns great Dan Majerle in 2020. In three seasons, Drew is 53-21, 26-10, including a 23-8, 13-5 record last season. The Antelopes bowed out of the NCAA tournament in their first game in Drew’s first season with a 12-point loss to No. 2 seed Iowa. They are currently 16-6, 4-2 in the WAC.

• Anthony Grant, 56, Dayton head coach – Team captain of the Flyers in the mid 1980s and eventual head coach at Dayton, where he has served the last six seasons following a three-year run at Virginia Commonwealth, which landed him the Alabama job. He went 76-25 at VCU, 117-85 at Alabama and is 113-56 at Dayton. He was a 10-year assistant under Billy Donovan at Florida and won a national title ring in 2006. He would later serve as an assistant under Donovan with the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Grant had his best team at Dayton in 2019-20 when the pandemic hit. The Flyers were 29-2 overall and undefeated (18-0) in the Atlantic 10 when post-season play was canceled. Last season, the Flyers went 24-11, 14-4, but did not land an NCAA tournament bid. They are currently tied for first with VCU in the Atlantic 10 Conference at 13-6, 5-1.

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