Coach Brey has big plans for the season, the JACC
By ANDREW SOUKUP
In only his first year as Notre Dame's men's basketball coach, Mike Brey already has big plans for the Joyce Center.
"I told [athletic director] Kevin White that I'm fully qualified to run Bingo at the JACC, Brey told a crowd of about 150 in LaFortune Ballroom last night."
In the talk sponsored by the Alliance for Catholic Education, Brey answered questions about topics ranging from his support for the student section to his role organizing Bingo games to help offset the cost of attending a Catholic education during his five years as a teacher.
In his talk, Brey stressed the importance of the values he gained from his Catholic education. He spoke extensively about his experiences as a student, a teacher and coach at DeMatha High School in Hyattsville, Md.
"I taught six history classes five days a week," he said. "I can't tell you how good that was for me. I don't think I'd be as confident without my DeMatha years."
Brey's years at DeMatha and at George Washington University played a major role in his decision to accept the head coaching position vacated by Matt Doherty this summer.
"When I left Duke, I had no plans to go back," the former Duke assistant coach said. "I wasn't sure if big-time college ball was worth the family sacrifice."
However, Brey felt the environment at Notre Dame provided a great quality of life for both himself and his family.
"It's a natural fit," Brey said. "I was never interested in going back to Duke. Instead, I wanted to do some Duke stuff here."
"We're at a very critical time right now," he added. "If we can handle this season right, with all the preseason attention, we can set ourselves up to recruit well and get back in the national picture."
During his talk, Brey repeatedly stressed his hopes for the student section to become a deciding factor at Irish home games.
"We need to have that student section alive," he said. "They are so important for our success."
Brey noted that student support has already picked up as a result of the preseason hype, which has Notre Dame picked among the nation's top 20 teams. Since tickets went on sale Tuesday, Brey estimated more than 1,500 season tickets had already been purchased.
"I noticed that the passion and spirit at Notre Dame was great," he said. "Duke's students were good, but it wasn't even close to what we can do."
Brey told last Thursday night's crowd some of his ideas to get more student support for the basketball team.
One possibility is student-only pep rallies where the students would be able to get an inside look at the Irish preparations for their opponent. At the rallies, Brey hopes to get a few students down on the court, run them through an opponent's offense, and show the students a sampling of how the Irish would attack the other team.
He also would like to implement a system where supporters could enter basketball games by using only their student ID.
"We had this at Duke, and I thought it worked great," he said. "It really got the students out."
However, Brey revealed one of his most dramatic ideas for increasing student rowdiness. "I've talked with Kevin White about gutting the Joyce Center in order to move the seats closer to the court," he said. "I want to get the students on top of the court."
All Sports Stories for Friday, November 3, 2000