Blue and Gold Illustrated

February 2017

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

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Page 8 of 55 FEBRUARY 2017 9 UNDER THE DOME The first time at Note Dame oc‑ curred in 2004‑06, when the Irish were relegated to three straight NIT bids. Brey admitted thoughts arose that he had done all he could with the Irish, and a change of scenery might be required. Instead, he reinvented himself and the operation, including hiring a new impactful assistant in Gene Cross and playing freshmen Luke Haran‑ gody and Tory Jackson. It helped return Notre Dame to prominence, highlighted by a No. 5 regular‑season finish and No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament in 2011. However, his first‑ever sub‑.500 season in 2014 made Brey do even more objective introspection while acknowledging that coaches do hear the noise that calls for their dismissal. "You have to be honest with your‑ self," Brey said. "You look and go, 'Maybe I need to re‑invent.' … Your stock was still one where you could get another job and feel somewhat comfortable, so you think and go, 'Is it time for me to re‑invent?' "You think about all those things as you're going through it. It kind of had my edge up through the off‑ season, and I felt we had to do some things with our culture." He vowed that the program would bounce back again with much greater accountability, offseason team building — highlighted by a summer trip to Italy allowed once per four years by the NCAA — and empowering the captains to take greater ownership. RISING FROM THE ASHES What turned out most healthy was a "truth hurts" session amongst players in which everyone was de‑ manded to speak on what needs to be addressed. "Some guys had to vet out some stuff on Jerian Grant, because they felt like he let them down — which he did," Brey said. "And he had to kind of come to confession. We talked out a lot of deep stuff, a lot of 'come to Jesus' that was really good. "We had to start over with things, and man, it really paid off." After practices, the team gathered to judge whether they had just per‑ formed at a "level five" champion‑ ship standard. "Each guy goes around and talks about where he gives a grade," Brey said. "We were a four … they might call out a teammate positively, they might call out a teammate negatively. I felt we needed to be a little bit bet‑ ter about being called out and chal‑ lenged about not doing things. We matured in that area, and then the coaches give their final thing. "What is interesting is I used to bring our guys together at the end and I'd give the wrap‑up to prac‑ tice — and I thought I had the finger on the pulse of how I should talk. So I used to go into the circle think‑ ing these are the points I'm going to make. "And then after hearing our play‑ ers talk, and some of our staff, my message becomes completely differ‑ ent than what I had planned, and I have a better finger on the pulse. "We're all put on that mat, and it's how you come off that sucker in our profession." In 2017, it is Kelly's turn, and chance, to rise from the mat. ✦ Holy Cross Village is a continuing care retirement community, sponsored by the Brothers of Holy Cross, with a tradition of caring, compassion and trust. Holy Cross Village welcomes people of all faiths. 54515 State Rd., 933 North, Notre Dame, IN 46556 ... AND ENJOY THE GAME OF LIFE AT HOLY CROSS VILLAGE I magine making new friends and developing new talents, where everything you need to enjoy the game of life is right outside your front door. Nestled among three institutions of higher learning, Holy Cross Village at Notre Dame is a senior living community unlike anything else around. Our warm and inviting community offers: Independent Living Homes and Apartments Assisted Living Apartments Skilled Nursing Memory Care Rehabilitation Services Call (574) 251-2235 today for more information and to schedule a tour.

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