Let’s Speculate! Potential Notre Dame head basketball coach candidates
Welcome to Let’s Speculate! on Coaches Database, where we go through programs that are or may soon be looking for a new head coach and speculate who they may hire next.
Today’s program is Notre Dame, coached by Mike Brey since 2000 (stepping away at the end of season).
- Martin Ingelsby – Delaware head coach
- Maybe the most logical candidate is Ingelsby, the former Notre Dame assistant under Brey who was there for the Elite Eight runs in 2015 and 2016. He’s been at Delaware since 2016 and last year led the Hens to the NCAA Tournament for just the second time this century. He might fall short of 20 wins this year, but overall he’s done a great job at the CAA school and obviously has familiarity with the ND program. As another interesting parallel, Brey was the head coach at Delaware before coming to South Bend in 2000.
- Dusty May – Florida Atlantic head coach
- Another up-and-comer that would make sense is May, who has been at Florida Atlantic since 2018 and this year has the Owls on another level. The C-USA program is ranked in the AP Poll for the first time ever and is (as of Saturday morning) 18-1 overall and 8-0 in league play. May is an Indiana-native who served as a student manager for the Hoosiers under the great Bob Knight. He’s been coaching down south for much of his career, having spent one year at Murray State, two at UAB, six at Louisiana Tech and three at Florida before getting the FAU job. If the Owls keep rolling, May won’t be there for much longer.
- Porter Moser – Oklahoma head coach
- Moser is a Midwestern guy, having grown up in Illinois and played at Creighton, and became a star in the coaching world during his tenure at Loyola Chicago, where he won three MVC titles and took the Ramblers to the 2018 Final Four. He was courted for several years before finally taking the Oklahoma job in 2021, and even though its only his second year in Norman, Notre Dame might be a job worth leaving for.
- Pat Kelsey – College of Charleston head coach
- Notre Dame would be one of many schools vying for Kelsey if they went that direction, as the 47-year old coach has Charleston absolutely rolling in 2022-23 and ranked in the AP Poll for the first time in 20 years. After a dominant run at Winthrop, and a brief fling with UMass, he finally left in 2021 and has been a home run hire for the Cougars’ program.
- Chris Holtmann – Ohio State head coach
- Holtmann has done well at Ohio State, but fans are getting restless this year as the Buckeyes have been sputtering. He’s made the NCAA Tournament every year since his hiring in 2017, and before that for three-straight years at Butler, but has not made it past the first weekend with OSU. Besides his time in Indianapolis, Holtmann played and coached at NAIA Taylor University in Upland, IN, just a couple hours from South Bend.
- Micah Shrewsberry – Penn State head coach
- Speaking of active Big Ten coaches, Shrewsberry’s name is already being tossed around quite a bit for the Notre Dame job. He’s only in year two at Penn State but has already done a fantastic job with the program. His ties to the state are immense – grew up in Indianapolis and outside of his six-year stint with Brad Stevens in Boston he had spent his entire coaching career in his home state before his hiring in 2021. Would he leave so quickly for Notre Dame just because he’s from Indiana? Is an ACC job at a football school better than Big Ten job at a football school?
- Fran McCaffery – Iowa head coach
- How about one more Big Ten head coach to add to the mix? McCaffery spent eleven years (1988-99) as an assistant at Notre Dame and his wife was a standout basketball player for the Irish. Now in his thirteenth year at Iowa, he has been unable to get over the hump despite coaching a number of talented players – Wooden winner Luka Garza and lottery pick Keegan Murray, to name a few. Six NCAA Tournament bids but no Sweet Sixteens, even in 2020-21 when his team spent nearly the entire season ranked in the Top 10. Notre Dame provides a fresh start for McCaffery, who could finish out his career there. From ND’s perspective, there aren’t many guys with Fran’s long history as a head coach, but the fact that he has never done anything in the NCAA Tournament – and that he is the same age as Brey – could be deal-breakers.
- Mitch Henderson – Princeton head coach
- Ivy League to ACC might be too big of a leap to do all at once, but Henderson has Princeton is one of the best teams in the league right now and bigger programs are taking notice. Originally from Vincennes, Indiana, Henderson was a star three-sport athlete at Culver Military Academy (IN) just about an hour south of Notre Dame’s campus. He passed on joining the New York Yankees to pursue college basketball at Princeton, where he was a four-year starter under Pete Carril and Bill Carmody. He later spent eleven years as one of Carmody’s assistants at Northwestern before becoming head coach at his alma mater in 2011. Henderson is a hot name, has plenty of experience at private academic institutions and has deep ties to the area.
- Steve Alford – Nevada head coach
- Alford’s name carries a lot of weight in Indiana, as the New Castle native and Hoosier legend was a 2x All-American as a player and helped lead Bobby Knight‘s team to a NCAA championship in 1987. After a brief NBA career, Alford became the head coach at D-III Manchester (IN) and was national runner-up by year three. He has excelled more at mid-majors, going to a Sweet 16 with Missouri State and winning four Mountain West titles at New Mexico, then he has at the highest level. His Iowa tenure was underwhelming, but looks better with time, and he did some impressive things at UCLA despite never getting over the hump. Now at Nevada, the ND job could pull him back to his home state to give it one more go at a power conference program.
- Ryan Humphrey – Oklahoma assistant coach
- Humphrey spent six years on Brey’s staff at alma mater Notre Dame before leaving to join Porter Moser at Oklahoma last year (a return to his home state). He doesn’t have any head coaching experience, but he knows the program and the community and would certainly welcomed back to South Bend with open arms.
- Anthony Solomon – Notre Dame associate head coach
- The internal choice, for sure, Solomon is his third tenure as an assistant at Notre Dame (eleventh year overall) and has a solid resume outside of that. He has head coaching experience, leading St. Bonaventure from 2003-07, name recognition in the program and state, and would provide some stability (does ND want that, though?). A current head coach might be a more exciting hire but Swarbrick has a logical candidate on campus already.
- Chris Quinn – Miami Heat assistant coach
- Looking to the Notre Dame basketball family, Quinn is another former player with a high profile coaching gig. After four years with the Irish and a first-team All-Big East selection in 2006, Quinn spent seven years playing professionally. He worked at Northwestern for one year under Chris Collins, then returned to the Miami Heat, the team in which he spent the most time as player, as an assistant coach in 2014. He’s been on Erik Spoelstra’s staff ever since, and the 39-year old is an intriguing candidate to take over at his alma mater. Though the ‘hire a former player and let them figure it out’ strategy has been hit or miss over the last decade.