Can the third time be as much of a charm as the first two for assistant coach Anthony Solomon?
Notre Dame men’s basketball coach Mike Brey hopes so.
A source close to the Irish men’s basketball program confirmed Tuesday morning that the 56-year-old Solomon will return for a third tour as an Irish assistant in the coming days. The hiring process still has to run its human resources course at Notre Dame before everything becomes official. News that Solomon was the top target for the vacancy on Brey’s coaching staff was first reported Tuesday morning by Yahoo’s Pete Thamel.
Having Solomon on staff often has meant success for the Irish. During Brey’s 21-year tenure at Notre Dame, the Irish have advanced to three Sweet 16s, which also included back-to-back appearances in the Elite Eight in 2015 and 2016. Each time, Solomon was an assistant coach.
With Brey as head coach, Notre Dame never has advanced past the second round of the NCAA Tournament without Solomon on staff.
The Irish have missed the last four NCAA tournaments.
An original member of Brey’s first staff at Notre Dame, Solomon was an assistant from 2000 to 2003. He left following the program’s first Sweet 16 in 16 seasons to become head coach at Saint Bonaventure. Solomon returned to Notre Dame in 2008. He left following the 2015-16 Elite Eight season to become an assistant coach at Georgetown.
Solomon was critical in helping turn around the Irish between the 2013-14 and 2014-15 seasons. He was in charge of the spring workouts for a program that had only six returning players on campus. Much of those offseason drills centered on defense and rebounding and toughness. Notre Dame then went from 15-17 in 2013-14 to 32-6 the following year, which also included an Atlantic Coast Conference tournament championship.
Solomon, who spent the previous four seasons as associate head coach at the University of Dayton, will oversee the Notre Dame defense, which needs a complete overhaul/rebuild. The Irish finished 14th in the 15-team ACC in scoring defense (74.3 ppg.) last season, ninth in field goal percentage defense (.443), 12th in 3-point field goal percentage defense (.366), 13th in rebounding defense (36.6 per game) and 15th in steals (4.27).
Solomon steps into the staff vacancy created by former Irish swingman Scott Martin, who served last season as an assistant coach after the abrupt resignation of Ryan Ayers, who was said to have left to pursue other coaching opportunities. Arrested in early January and accused of voyeurism and domestic battery stemming from incidents with two different women, Ayers is scheduled to go to trial June 10 in South Bend.
Martin, who served as Development and Recruiting Coordinator in 2019-20, is expected to return to that role this season.
Assistant coach Ryan Humphrey enters his sixth season at his alma mater in 2021-22. Associate head coach Rod Balanis enters his 22nd year at Notre Dame. He’s been with Brey during his entire tenure at Notre Dame.