Former Irish power forward Ryan Humphrey spent six seasons on Mike Brey's coaching staff

Tom Noie
ND Insider
Nov 24, 2018; South Bend, IN, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish assistant coach Ryan Humphrey talks with forward Nate Laszewski (14) in the second half against the DePaul Blue Demons at the Purcell Pavilion. Mandatory Credit: Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

Well, that was fun while it lasted, and it didn't last very long.

As the Notre Dame men's basketball team steamrolled toward its first NCAA tournament appearance in five years last season, head coach Mike Brey often talked about how well positioned the program was after so many seasons of uncertainty, for myriad reasons.

Brey would mention how he liked all three levels of Rolfs Hall, the team's stand-alone practice facility. He liked the strength and conditioning and training programs on the ground floor. He liked the fabric/makeup of the players' locker room on the second floor. And he liked the stability on the third floor, home to the coaching staff and administrative offices.

► Baseball:After three seasons at Notre Dame, Link Jarrett is headed back home to Florida State

► Where are they now?:College Basketball: How former Notre Dame players fared this season, from NBA to overseas

The top level needs a little work after Notre Dame Insider learned Wednesday morning that assistant coach Ryan Humphrey, a former Irish power forward and first-round NBA draft pick, will leave the program for the University of Oklahoma.

Humphrey, a Tulsa native, played two seasons for the Sooners before transferring to Notre Dame.

Humphrey informed the Irish of his decision during the team's early-morning workout. He spent the last six seasons on Brey's staff, where he tutored the big men. He also served this past season as de-facto recruiting coordinator.

“Notre Dame has been so good to me,” Humphrey told NDI on Wednesday. 

Assistant coach Ryan Humphrey during men's basketball media day Wednesday, Oct. 13, 2021 at Purcell Pavilion in South Bend.

Brey always figured Humphrey wasn’t long for a spot on his staff, mainly because he seemed on a rocket rise to becoming a head coach, of having a program to call his own. He was that good. He was that driven. He was that destined. Determined. 

“He was unbelievable with our big guys,” Brey said of Humphrey. “That relationship was really good. I’ll miss him. I love him.” 

As Humphrey prepares to move on, Brey will move into hiring mode. Does he hire a current college assistant? Does he hire someone with an NBA background? The new guy likely won’t be someone with Notre Dame ties, which had been a past Brey hiring preference. 

Brey’s in no rush to shore up the staff. He eventually will have to, but in time. For now, he’ll have Pat Rogers, a 2010 Notre Dame graduate and current Director of Basketball Operations after serving last season as video coordinator, jump into Humphrey’s recruiting role and get on the road for part of the July evaluation period. 

► NBA Draft:Historic night for former South Bend prep standout, Irish guard

► Football: Notre Dame freshman running back Jadarian Price suffers season-ending injury

Humphrey served as the de facto recruiting coordinator at Notre Dame since last summer. He was the lead assistant on current Irish guard J.J. Starling. He helped recruit freshman power forward Ven-Allen Lubin. If the Irish season started tomorrow, both could be in the starting lineup.

Brey begins his 22nd season in the fall. Associate head coach Anthony Solomon and assistant coach Antoni Wyche each begin their second seasons, though this is Solomon's third tour of duty on Brey's staff. Wyche also played at Notre Dame under the late John MacLeod. 

Follow South Bend Tribune and NDInsider columnist Tom Noie on Twitter: @tnoieNDI. Contact: (574) 235-6153.