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Brey is locked in at Notre Dame

When the news came down last Thursday that Gary Williams was stepping down from Maryland, Notre Dame coach Mike Brey's weekend got a little more interesting.

It also dampened the coach's trip to the Kentucky Derby.

"How about that drama?" Brey said of the rumors connecting him as a possible replacement for Williams. "There's really not as much drama as there was.

"Talk about ruining my Derby weekend," he added while laughing.

Brey was linked to the Maryland opening almost immediately after Williams announced his retirement last week.

Brey has strong connections to the state. He was born in Bethesda, Md., played and coached at DeMatha High School in Hyattsville and still has a vacation home in Maryland.

"Maryland holds a special spot in my heart. Half of my family graduated from there and my wife's family," Brey said.

Even with a lot of emotional connections to the area, Brey said leaving Notre Dame to take over at Maryland never entered the equation.

"I never interviewed with them and it never got more than an inquiry because I feel so good about the momentum of our program," Brey said. "We've worked 11 years to get it in this position. We feel we have really good momentum. I like where our recruiting is. I'm honored to have ND next to my name. And I like the Big East. I like being in the Big East. I should have my head examined for saying that, but I like it. We have a niche in that league.

"There really wasn't much to it other than speculation."

Brey, 52, is coming off his best season at Notre Dame. The Irish went 27-7 last year, finished second in the Big East, went to the NCAA tournament for the seventh time in Brey's 11 seasons and he was named The Associated Press coach of the year.

"I'm flattered that they would inquire, but that's were it ended," Brey said. "I've been here 11 years, people have inquired and reached out and I've not interviewed for another job. It kind of tells you that you've locked in here.

"We've got a lot invested here in this community and this place … this is home."

Brey has reportedly been in negotiations with Notre Dame about a contract extension, but the coach wouldn't elaborate on were that process is at.

"We don't talk about contracts," Brey said. "That will all work out. (Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick) and I have had discussions about the future. That will all work out at the right time. I'm not losing sleep on that."

The Journal Gazette's Assistant Sports Editor Tony Krausz covers The University of Notre Dame. Krausz, a graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism and a native of St. Louis, has been assistant sports editor since October 2005. Prior to joining the JG, he worked at two papers in Mississippi covering high school and college athletics.