Mike Brey named AP coach of year

HOUSTON -- Notre Dame's Mike Brey was selected as The Associated Press' coach of the year as he led the Fighting Irish to a second-place finish in the Big East and a No. 5 ranking in the final media poll.

Brey led the Fighting Irish to a 27-7 record, their second-most wins in a season. Their 14-4 mark in the Big East tied their record for conference victories. Notre Dame was a No. 2 seed in the NCAA tournament, losing to Florida State in the third round.

"The personality of this group was so stable whether it was a big win or a loss, they stayed stable," said Brey, who has been at Notre Dame for 11 seasons. "When they had great wins it didn't change them. When they had a tough loss it didn't change them. Stable is the word."

Brey received the award Friday. He drew 28 votes from the 65-member national media panel that selects the weekly Top 25. Steve Fisher of San Diego State was second with 14 votes. Voting was done before the NCAA tournament.

Brey is the first Notre Dame coach to win the award. He is the second straight Big East coach to get it following Syracuse's Jim Boeheim last year.

Winning an early-season tournament in Orlando, Fla., let Brey know he had the makings of a good team.

"I made sure we cut the nets down in Orlando and the Disney people said 'We don't do that.' I said 'You do this year. Get a ladder.' As an independent for so long we didn't have a lot of chances to cut the nets down -- for the big picture and this year. That was a huge confidence boost."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.