When he was hired as the Notre Dame men's basketball coach on July 14, 2000, Mike Brey said he felt he could give Notre Dame 15 good years.
This fall, Brey enters his 15th season as the helm of the Irish basketball program.
"I've seen a lot of change here," Brey said Tuesday in a sitdown conversation with NewsCenter 16. "Two [Athletic Directors], two Presidents, facilities. Going into year 15 I'm honored and thankful to be coaching at the same place for a long time. When you look around the country, there are not a lot of guys at a place as long as I have been."
Brey feels now starts a new chapter for his program that he believes is similar to when he took it over back in 2000. He says when he arrived, the Irish were struggling in the Big East and then over time found themselves. Now, they are looking to find themselves in the Atlantic Coast Conference.
As we all know, the first year in the ACC didn't go according to plan. Jerian Grant was suspended in late December for academics and it was a downward spiral in the 2nd half of the season that saw the Irish finish with their first losing season under Brey.
"There's no question we wanted to go into the new league guns blazing and get a bid [to the NCAA Tournament]. On paper you feel like you could do that--we didn't," Brey concedes.
Brey says it turned out to be the most frustrating season of his coaching career.
"We seemed to have a lot hit us," Brey explains. "I feel like I was more distracted then ever before in a season with different things going on."
After a sub .500 season, the chatter always starts. The Brey haters become louder in their belief that it's time for a change. Brey understands that crowd is going to exist but he doesn't let it bother him.
"I think that comes with the territory everywhere," Brey says. "If you coach at a place long enough, you will just have people that are tired of you. I've been fortunate that I have a lot of support here--certainly great support from my bosses."
Brey reflects back to that introductory press conference in 2000. He remembers being asked about whether he was going to bolt Notre Dame if he found immediate success because Matt Doherty had just left after one season.
"I said, 'I hope I'm good enough enough that I can retire here' and nothing's changed with that," Brey says. "I haven't interviewed for any other college jobs; I'm not interested in the NBA. I'm a teacher--I feel I fit the mission here and I feel the people that hired me feel I fit the mission here."
He says he feels rejuvenated heading into the upcoming season. With Jerian Grant back and Pat Connaughton returning, he feels that's a solid nucleus to build around.
We'll have more on Brey's thoughts on Grant, Connaughton and Demetrius Jackson coming up Wednesday at 6pm on NewsCenter 16.