SOUTH BEND – It was an emotional night for the head coach who has called Notre Dame home for the past 23 years.
That’s because Mike Brey was taking the Fighting Irish men’s basketball team back on their home court for the last time in his tenure at the school.
After announcing in January that he would leave the program at the end of the 2022-2023 season, Brey coached his final contest at Purcell Pavilion against Pittsburgh. Unlike most of this campaign, it was a great night for Notre Dame on the hardwood.
After seven-straight losses, the Irish took a 14-point halftime lead and went on to beat the Panthers 88-81 for just their third ACC win this season.
Brey took some time on the court to enjoy the moment and salute the fans who stayed to give the coach a loud ovation for his over two decades of coaching in the Notre Dame men’s basketball program.
But that wouldn’t be his only celebration that night.
Earlier in the week, Brey said that he would visit Linebacker Lounge, a bar located across the street from the campus, for the first time after the home finale on Wednesday.
Indeed, Brey followed through on his promise, as Tyler Horka of On3 Sports caught video of the coach interacting with fans who came up to speak with him. One of them even shows Brey taking a shot of whiskey in celebration of the upcoming end of his tenure with the Irish.
Brey leaves Notre Dame as their all-time winningest men’s basketball coach with 483 regular season victories since the 2000-2001 season. He helped the Irish to 13 NCAA Tournament appearances, with appearances in the Elite Eight in 2015 and 2016.
Under Brey, Notre Dame won the Big East in 2001 and the ACC Tournament championship in 2015.