Notre Dame Basketball: What If Mike Brey Was the Football Coach?

Erin McLaughlinSenior Analyst IIMarch 20, 2011

CHICAGO, IL - MARCH 18:  Head coach Mike Brey of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish communicates with the team in the first half of the game against the Akron Zips during the second round of the 2011 NCAA men's basketball tournament at the United Center on March 18, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

As the Fighting Irish prepare for their big game in the third round against Florida State, Irish hoop fans have to know they had a treat this year with a great season. Senior Ben Hansborough was Big East Player of the Year and Mike Brey was named Big East Coach of the Year.

I am not trying to take anything away from what Brey has accomplished this year. He did an excellent job with this team and deserves all the credit in the world. However, the thing that stands out about his accomplishments this year is that he never would have done this if he was the football coach, because he never would have lasted this long.

Brey has been in South Bend since 2000. In that time, he has a 232-116 record, winning 67 percent of his games. While that is certainly not shabby, Charlie Weis was 35-27 in five years as the football coach, winning 56 percent of his games, only 11 percent less than Brey.

Then you have to consider postseason success when comparing Weis to Brey. While it may seem like Brey has clearly had more success in the postseason than Weis, I would have to beg to differ. The furthest Brey has ever gotten in the postseason is the Sweet Sixteen in 2003. That would be about the equivalent of losing a Cotton Bowl. Weis made it to two BCS Bowls and lost. That would be about the equivalent of making it to the Elite Eight.

Brey's next biggest accomplishment in the postseason was the NIT semifinals in 2009. That is about the equivalent of losing the Hawaii Bowl. Do I have to remind you that Weis won the Hawaii Bowl that same year?

The point here is not to bash Brey or Notre Dame. I am also not trying to be a Weis apologist. This is just simply something for Notre Dame fans, and possibly the athletic department, to think about. 

The fact is that no football coach would last a decade in South Bend if he won only 67 percent of his games and took his team to the Cotton Bowl in its best season. This almost makes me wonder if being the basketball coach in South Bend is now a better job than the football position. There is certainly more job security with basketball, and the school will give the head coach a chance to build a program.