This post was written by Hatchet reporter Scott Nover.
There’s nothing like the feeling of coming home. A Maryland native, Mike Brey, a 1982 alumnus, will feel just that as he brings his Fighting Irish men’s basketball team to College Park Wednesday to face the Terrapins.
But on Tuesday, in front of a sold out Smith Center crowd, Brey was reunited with a different home as he was inducted into the GW Athletics Hall of Fame.
Brey, who received his bachelor’s degree in physical education from the University, led the men’s basketball team in his only season for the Colonials. Brey’s 116 assists in 24 games earned him MVP honors for the 1981-82 season as GW went 13-14 for the season.
When his time as a Colonial came to an end, Brey decided his basketball career was far from over. He returned to DeMatha Catholic to serve as an assistant coach, before serving in the same role at Duke University under the leadership of legendary head coach, Mike Krzyzewski. Coach K was among the many well known college basketball faces to leave a message on the Smith Center’s jumbotron during halftime of GW’s matchup with VCU.
Brey then took the head coach position at Delaware and led the Blue Hens to two March Madness appearances in five years. In 2000, Brey moved to South Bend and took up the task of revitalizing a failing basketball program at what many would consider a “football school:” Notre Dame. Following a 10-year drought of failing to make the NCAA Tournament, Brey has turned the team around, taking the Irish to the NCAA Tournament nine times in his 14 years, including a Sweet Sixteen appearance during the 2002-2003 season.
Born in Bethesda, the Notre Dame head men’s basketball coach graduated from DeMatha Catholic High School in Hyattsville, Md., but chose to venture to Northwestern State University in Louisiana, for his first two years of college. Brey quickly returned to the DMV area for his final two years of school (1980-82), saying he “reinvented himself” during his time at GW.
The coach’s GW ties extend further, as his mother – an Olympic swimmer – once coached the GW swimming team, while his father, received a master’s degree from the University. He’s also close to Jonathan Tsipis, GW’s women’s basketball coach who previously coached at Notre Dame.
“Jonathan Tsipis was a close friend,” Brey said.
“And Mike Lonergan is almost like my little brother in a lot of ways,” Brey added, speaking of how “proud” he was of the current head coach.
Brey complimented the current athletics program, noting that it “is in great shape” with athletics director Patrick Nero at the helm. He spoke to reporters at a press conference before Tuesday’s game, but later addressed the jam-packed Smith Center while being honored during halftime of GW’s eventual 76-66 win.
Brey said, in his mind, his mother, the aforementioned swim coach, and his wife, a GW volleyball player, are the two “best athletes” in the family. “My mom and my wife should be in the hall of fame way before me,” he said.