Amelia Island, Florida – On the eve of his thirteenth NCAA tournament as head coach of Notre Dame, Mike Brie took the podium and delivered an opening statement summarizing his time in charge of the Irish national team.
“This is the fifth time I’ve been coaching Rutgers basketball,” Bray said before his team’s first four game in Dayton, Ohio. “The only program that had more coaches in my tenure was Notre Dame football. They had six.”
Brie, who appeared on “The Shamrock” this week after the spring ACC meetings, has witnessed failures, successes, and incredible stories from Bob Davy’s systems to Marcus Freeman and everyone in between.
George O’Leary’s short-lived era is among those great stories. Even if Brey—or at least one of his former lieutenants—had the physical evidence to remind everyone that O’Leary’s five-day spell did indeed take place in South Bend in 2001.
“I was filming my TV show with Jack Nolan at WNDU, and Anthony Solomon, on his first assignment with me, (and) he texted me and said, ‘I don’t think Coach O’Leary will be here anymore,'” Brie recalls on the podcast. -What are you talking about (about)? “Something going on”. And so we’re back and sure it’s a hurricane around JACC and I’m in hiding – we closed the conference room, the media looking, “Can we get the hang of it?” And I don’t even know what’s going on.
“And we sat there and they had already put the name plate, ‘George O’Leary,’ in the football desk, which was my desk for a while before we all got out. And we’d say, ‘Someone better go in there and take that plate.'” That would be valuable. So I say (former Irish men’s basketball assistant Rudd) Balance has that. He might want to put it on eBay someday. But it’s one of the great stories of my tenure. And Marcus is the number 6 soccer coach, and you’re just riding the wave with them.”
the athlete I reached out to Balanis, the art director now associated with Howard, to confirm the whereabouts of said painting. But the story, fabricated in nature, serves a greater purpose.
The football job at Notre Dame is a beast. But Bray thinks Freeman is more than a cut for that.
“I think the most important thing is to be yourself, and I think he got great advice from his football advisors and from KD about it, and from Niele (Ivey),” Berry said. “You have to find who you are. You can’t be Muffett (McGraw).”
“It’s definitely not going to be Brian Kelly,” he added with a laugh. “That’s good, isn’t it?”
Brey’s cops have yet to meet Freeman in person, due to the hectic nature of both schedules. Brey, Ivey and AD Jack Swarbrick were at ACC’s spring meetings with peers from other ACC schools, but Freeman was not, as the Irish are not a full member of football.
However, the 23-year-old Irish men’s basketball coach hopes to be a sounding board for Freeman if he needs any advice.
“When I got my main job in Delaware, I made my mistakes. They weren’t on ESPN and I screwed up a few things in the early years,” Brie said. “Marcus, how about his opening (in Ohio)? I mean, he’s right there on the stage, but he’s kind of built for it. He played at that level. He’s been around. He’s been around the scene. He’s young and energetic, and ( in tune) with the changes in college athletics and enlistment. And I think it’s really going to pay off for us. And he wants to be here. I think he’s embraced our mission.
“In one year, I quickly realize that our mission is a little different, man. And you can’t change Notre Dame. But there are so many great things for sale. And I think he’s found that niche. So whatever he needs, I’m there, and maybe he’ll get me away from Edge next year, if we lose a tough one.”
Berry drew some attention – and anger around his industry – earlier in the week with his comments about coaches needing “Shut up and adjust” to the current employment environment.
Looking out on the beach while enjoying burgers and fries outside the Ritz-Carlton, the self-proclaimed “America’s Most Flexible” coach was certainly practicing what he preached.
“After 22 winters in South Bend, that’s a great view of the ocean,” he said, adding later, “I think my comments (Tuesday), as I’ve worked with the staff since July 1 when the name and photo and the resemblance became legal, official, and from “Obviously there are some amazing deals available for the youngsters. I just think we should fix it and stop complaining about it and trying to use it to our advantage at Notre Dame.”
“Jack Swarbrick has been very aggressive and creative in trying to help our student-athletes make the most of this. It’s not supposed to be used for recruiting, but it was. They’ll try to order it again. I think this is going to take a while to do that. We never wanted to.” In participating in reinforcements in recruitment. It was like Rule #1 in the 700-page NCAA handbook. So there must be some way to shape this, and to do it. In the midst of it, whining, fingering, complaining, it doesn’t work. And as I said (Tuesday): Last time I checked, we’re all living the good life in this coaching career.”
(Photo: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)