Blue and Gold Illustrated

April 2021

Blue & Gold Illustrated: America's Foremost Authority on Notre Dame Football

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Page 6 of 55 APRIL 2021 7 FAN FORUM FROM THE WEBSITE Five years ago, Notre Dame men's basketball coach Mike Brey was exalted for back-to-back Elite Eight appearances, a first at the school since 1978-79. From 2015-17, highlighted by the ACC champion- ship in 2015 and a runner-up finish in 2017, Notre Dame also won more NCAA Tournament games (seven) over a three-year period than at any time in its history. But after barely missing the NCAA Tournament in 2018, finishing 14-19 in 2019, and falling to 10-14 this regular season, the 21st-year Irish head coach has lost the faith from many Fighting Irish follow- ers who wonder if he still has the drive and fire to recruit and revitalize the program. It reached a crescendo Feb. 27 following a 94-90 loss at Boston College, which was in last place in the league, coming off a two-week layoff, absent three of its top four scorers and had fired its head coach on Feb. 15. Next year the Irish will have seven seniors, mak- ing it one of the oldest teams in NCAA history. Brey has wanted to see that class through its term. Here is a sampling of what has been said on the message board: Frase: Coach Brey should be given one more year to see these seniors graduate. It is obvious from watching this team play that something is amiss. The number of games they have blown in the sec- ond half is alarming. Mike Brey is a first-class guy who overall has been an asset to the university. CTIrish80: It's recruiting, and the assistants on his staff that do not have the fire in their belly to get out on the road and hustle. Brey is too loyal to a lethargic assistant coaching staff. Fedman: There is another thing that I wish Jack Swarbrick would consider: What is best for the coach that follows Brey — a struggling first season or a good first season that would be a boon to recruiting. If it is important for the next coach to have suc- cess right out of the gate, then the new coach should come in to coach the 2021-2022 team. Have success that first season and bring in a strong freshman class to supplement what will be a thin/ weak 2022-2023 roster. I would work out a mutual retirement for Brey at the conclusion of this season. Let the new coach have a chance for success by coaching the 2021-2022 team. But this is not what is going to happen. I think it is a 99-percent certainty that Brey is back next season. TelX1: While I think Jack will in fact give him next year to go out with this class, I think that would be a huge mistake for the program going forward. I don't think we can afford yet another year of poor recruiting by Brey while he gets to ride this senior class into the sunset. MMcCormick: With the transfer rules, the de- stroying of a program with bad recruiting becomes less of a "thing." You can bring in two or three transfers with immediate eligibility and literally have a program back up and running in a year. Long-term recruiting damage would be the main reason to part ways now. But I think it's a non-issue in today's transfer-heavy world. They lost Anthony Solomon (in 2016), who was the only assistant Brey ever had who could recruit. That did not help. Brey's recruiting left a lot to be desired, but his inability to recruit African-Ameri- can players is an issue and a subtitle to that story. Another subtitle is how many slow shooting guards can play on one team. Johnmichie: The good news is that many are re- turning. The bad news is that many are returning. This team lacks athleticism, ability to play strong D and overall consistently amongst most of their players. The team should improve next year, but this is based on a horribly low bar. The issue for ND is also that the ACC has had a bad year and figures to return to norm next year. SMCND: I miss the fire that John Mooney, Bonzie Colson, Pat Connaughton, Jerian Grant and Matt Farrell had. KevinPS: I question whether Swarbrick has the "fire in the belly" to conduct a coaching search. DBhenders: Mike Brey had a nice run — but it is time for him to put the best interests of Notre Dame at the forefront, not his "Happy Trails" tour to ride off into the sunset. Muffet McGraw knew it was time and did the right thing. Both Brey and Swarbrick know it is time, but I seriously doubt either will do the right thing. BGIUser2232: The program needs an infusion of energy. It's painfully obvious. All his recent recruits and transfers, with the exception of the Yale guy coming in for one year, are variations on the same theme. PortND: No bigger Brey supporter than I — and it's time to part ways. Have never seen a softer ND roster, clearly there are zero ass kickers on the team or staff, and it's a country-club atmosphere. Brey is self-aware enough where I believe he will step down at the end of the season knowing he is no longer able to reach the current roster. NDDadX3: As a fan I'm forever appreciative of what Brey achieved. However, Brey is now the starting pitcher who battled for 8 innings and after giving up 3 straight hard base hits to start the 9th is telling the manager I can finish this game. It's time to send Brey to the showers, and the fans should stand and cheer as he walks off the field. BE HEARD! Send your letters to: Letters Blue & Gold Illustrated P. O. Box 1007, Notre Dame, IN 46556 or e-mail to: JOIN THE CONVERSATION! GET A 60-DAY FREE TRIAL WITH CODE IRISH60 Following an extremely successful stretch from 2015-17, head coach Mike Brey and the Irish have just a 66-60 overall record (.524 winning percentage) and a 29-46 mark (.387) in ACC play in the four seasons since. Fans who showed their support for Brey March 6 were rewarded with an 83-73 upset of No. 11 Florida State. PHOTO COURTESY NOTRE DAME ATHLETICS

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