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Brey was voted the national coach of the year after the Irish's remarkable season a year ago, one that ended with a second-round loss to Florida State in the NCAA tournament.
The argument can be made that he's done an ever better job this season.
Brey's background and influences are high end. He played and coached under the legendary DeMatha High School coach Morgan Wooten and was also an assistant to Mike Krzyzewski at Duke before becoming head coach at Delaware. He came to Notre Dame for the 2000-01 season following Matt Doherty's departure after one season for North Carolina.
"At the beginning of the year there was a lot more teaching and going over things," Martin said of Brey's approach this time around. "As a season goes, you hit rough stretches and he's been very encouraging and optimistic, giving us the confidence that we should believe in ourselves and go for it."
And that's what the Irish will do the rest of the season as they try to wrap up a double bye in the conference tournament.
They have a challenging three days ahead, with a game against St. John's at Madison Square Garden on Saturday where they hope to become acclimated with the same building that will host the Big East tournament next month. Then it's off to Georgetown. The regular season wraps at home against Providence on March 2.
The Irish are 15-1 at home this season and 34-1 in their last 35 at the Purcell Pavilion, making it one of the toughest home courts in the country. The student section often features the waving of oversized cutouts of Brey, who's sartorial preference is for mock turtlenecks when he's working the bench.
Brey tries to make sure his demeanor also stays the same.
"Even though inside you may be doing back flips, when your guys look over they don't see a maniac, they see a calming influence," Brey said. "I'm going to be loose the rest of my career because I can be."
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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