Notre Dame announced Thursday that longtime basketball coach Mike Brey, who has been with the program since 2000 and has amassed 481 wins as Ireland head coach, will step down at the end of the 2022-23 season. The decision leaves a gaping hole in a position that, given Notre Dame’s resources and position in the ACC hierarchy, will draw significant interest from the middle ranks and even from sitting senior head coaches.
Athletic director Jack Swabrick is likely to leave no stone unturned as he seeks to replace another head coach for the second time in three years after football coach Brian Kelly switched to LSU last offseason, and he’s got a big mark in a big conference to exploit the potential candidates. However, what direction he will take to land his next man and at what level the university is willing to invest remains unclear. Sources have expressed some skepticism to CBS Sports that the university would be willing to dig deep to acquire a sitting head coach at the Power Conference level. That would likely require a buyout, and competitive pay to move the needle could top the $4 million mark annually.
So who ultimately becomes the next head coach depends on countless factors that remain unclear for the time being. Therefore, the pool of candidates that Notre Dame could search from is large.
We’ve compiled a list of six names that we think Notre Dame could and should be aiming for at this point, with the caveat that for now this is both a wish list for Irish fans and a real list of candidates. As the season progresses and more information comes in, our list will be updated.
1. Chris Holtmann, Ohio State head coach
If Notre Dame wants to target a big name from the high-major ranks in realism, Holtmann would have to be at the top of the wish list. He was 70-31 in three seasons at Butler and 117-64 in more than five seasons at Ohio State with more than 20 wins in each of his campaigns. His pay is reportedly about 30th in the country, which is a pretty nice discount for the Buckeyes with a coach whose credentials suggest he’s closer to a top-15 coach in America. Getting Holtmann might require a significant raise, but his buyout is only $2.5 million.
2. Chris Quinn, Miami Heat assistant
If Notre Dame wants to get nostalgic, it might find a healthy outlet in Quinn, a former All-Conference player with the Irish in the early years. It would be a surprise if he wasn’t among the top targets on Swarbrick’s list, and even more surprising if he didn’t get at least one call. Quinn has been a coach since retiring in 2013, having served as an assistant on Erik Spoelstra’s staff at both Northwestern and most recently (since 2014) the Miami Heat.
3. Micah Shrewsberry, Penn State head coach
Shrewsberry’s helped Penn State restart in a short time after taking over last season and made the Nittany Lions a possible NCAA tournament contender in its sophomore season. In addition to attending Indianapolis high school and playing at Hanover College, Indiana, he has experience as an assistant coach at Purdue, DePauw, and Butler, so his ties to the state run deep.
4. Dusty May, head coach at FAU
No coach’s stocks have risen more dramatically in the middle ranks this season than May’s. The Indiana grad, who was a student manager under Bob Knight, is leading the season 18-1 and leading the FAU No. 24 to his best start in the history of the program. Since taking over the program in 2018, he has ranged in age from 84 to 57 and has slowly made the Owls a Conference USA contender.
5. Greg McDermott, Creighton head coach
When Brian Kelly left Notre Dame for LSU, Swabrick appointed defense coordinator and then 35-year-old Marcus Freeman to take over the football program. So if Swarbrick sticks to a similar plan on the basketball side, he may very well choose a promoter. But if age isn’t a factor, then McDermott, 58, would be a coup. He’s been at Creighton since 2010, where he led the program to an overall record of 287-145, but it’s been a disappointing season overall given the high preseason expectations. His seat is unlikely to heat up, let alone get hot, but a fresh start elsewhere could make sense, and a coach with a proven track record could bring some stability to Notre Dame, as Brey did.
6. Martin Ingelsby, Delaware head coach
The last time Notre Dame hired its head coach, it was Delaware’s Mike Brey, so Ingelsby — who got his first head coaching stint in Delaware in 2016 — could be an interesting under-the-radar candidate. Ingelsby played at Notre Dame and made 121 starts over his four seasons before returning to Brey’s staff as an assistant coach from 2009 to 2016. He’s only 106-96 as a head coach with three times more losing seasons than NCAA tournament appearances, so it seems unlikely he’d be the first call, but school connections and head coaching experience, which are prerequisites, would apparently put him on the radar bring.