Delaware will give ND's Martin Ingelsby head coaching chance

Tom Noie
South Bend Tribune

All he wanted was a chance that an athletic director would take a chance.

On him. On his desire to be a college head coach. On his belief that he was ready. Now.

On Tuesday, Notre Dame assistant Martin Ingelsby — make that a former Notre Dame assistant — got that chance. And with it also comes the chance for the former Irish point guard to follow in the head coaching footsteps of Notre Dame’s Mike Brey.

Twenty-one years ago, Brey received the chance to become a college head coach for the first time when he was hired at the University of Delaware. On Tuesday, nearly 70 days after the school fired Monte Ross following a 7-23 season, newly-appointed UD athletic director Chrissi Rawak offered Ingelsby the chance to become a head coach for the first time.

Ingelsby will be introduced at 11 a.m. Wednesday on the Newark, Del., campus.

In a Notre Dame press release, Brey believes Ingelsby is a “great fit at a great university.”

“Martin is absolutely one of the most gifted young coaches in our profession and the Delaware community and players will love him and his family,” Brey also said. “It strikes a special chord in my heart to have one of my guys back at a place that got me started and is a big part of who I am today.

“His first matter of business should be to get a place in Rehoboth Beach."

Brey has a summer home in Rehoboth.

Ingelsby’s name had been linked to the opening for weeks. Even as far back as the NCAA tournament, while he was focused on getting the Irish to consecutive Elite Eights, Ingelsby privately admitted that the chance to coach Delaware was his “dream job.” He knew the school growing up in the Philadelphia area. He knew the culture of friends who went there for college. He knew its history with Brey having coached there.

"Delaware has selected one of the brightest young coaches in the country,” Notre Dame vice president and director of athletics Jack Swarbrick said in a statement. “Delaware has a winner in Coach Ingelsby."

Following 13 seasons on Brey’s staff, the 37-year-old Ingelsby was selected among three finalists. The Blue Hens had been without a head coach for over two months, in part because the school had to hire an athletic director. Delaware did that earlier this month with Rawak, who spent the previous five years at Michigan.

The firing of Ross, the prolonged search for an athletic director and, subsequently a head basketball coach left the Blue Hens with nine scholarship players heading into the 2016-17 season.

The Delaware campus is 47 miles from Ingelsby’s hometown of Berwyn, Pa.

Ingelsby worked the last seven years as an Irish assistant coach. He served the previous six as the program’s coordinator of basketball operations. He was co-captain of the 2000-01 Irish team that won the Big East West Division regular-season championship and advanced to the NCAA tournament for the first time in 11 years.

Brey, who will begin his 17th season in South Bend for the 2016-17 college season, spent five years as head coach at Delaware (99-52, two trips to NCAA tournament) before coming to Notre Dame. Four of his Notre Dame assistants — Gene Cross (Toledo), Sean Kearney (Holy Cross), Lewis Preston (Kennesaw State), Anthony Solomon (St. Bonaventure) — have left on to be head coaches. None lasted more than four years.

Solomon returned to Notre Dame in 2008.

Ingelsby is the first Irish assistant to leave for a head coaching job since 2009 when Kearney was hired by Holy Cross.

Ingelsby worked with the Irish perimeter players and handled non-conference scheduling for Brey. He also served as lead recruiter on senior guard Steve Vasturia and sophomore guard Rex Pflueger.

His departure opens a spot on Brey’s coaching staff, one that likely will be filled by a former player. Among those likely on Brey’s short list — and it’s probably a very short one — is former guard Ryan Ayers, who has spent the last two seasons as an assistant at Bucknell.

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Former Notre Dame point guard Martin Ingelsby has spent the last 13 seasons on coach Mike Brey's staff in South Bend.Tribune File Photo