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Irish Eyes Smile On Brey

Notre Dame didn't waste any time in offering Mike Brey the job as its basketball coach, and Brey didn't hesitate in accepting.

Brey, 99-52 in five years at Delaware, received a standing ovation Friday when he was introduced as the new Irish coach.

"I think I can give you 15 great years, after that, I think I'm going to have to re-evaluate," Brey said.

Brey replaces Matt Doherty, who left Tuesday for North Carolina after just one year at Notre Dame.

Brey met with a three-member committee from Notre Dame on Thursday night in Washington. He returned home to Newark, Del., where he got a call after midnight and accepted immediately, The Wilmington (Del.) News Journal reported on its Web site.

"This is one you've got to do," Brey told the newspaper, which reported he received a seven-year contract.

Brey had just signed a five-year contract extension at Delaware after guiding the Blue Hens to their third consecutive 20-victory season and the school's first NIT bid.

Brey, 41, worked previously as an assistant to Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski, helping guide the Blue Devils to six Final Fours over an eight-year span.

"What a perfect fit! Mike has the background that is totally suited for the level of success that Notre Dame wants and deserves," Krzyzewski said in a statement. "He and his family will be absolutely terrific in representing Notre Dame."

Athletic director Kevin White said Brey was the only person offered the job, denying reports that Notre Dame first offered Oregon coach Ernie Kent the position. "We only offered the job to one person," White said.

Fighting Irish spokesman John Heisler said Brey and one other coaching candidate met Thursday night with the Rev. Edward A. Malloy, Notre Dame's president; Patrick F. McCartan, chairman of the board of trustees; and Nathan Hatch, the university's provost. Heisler would not identify the other candidate, though Kent was in Washington to meeting with Notre Dame officials.

The Register-Guard of Eugene, Ore., reported that Kent was offered a seven-year contract worth about $700,000, but turned it down.

"What I found out is that they need someone in place now. I can't do that," Kent told The Register-Guard. "I have family considerations, I have university considerations and there are too many things involved for me to do something like this so quickly."

After guiding the Ducks to the NIT semifinals in 1999, Kent's name began popping up in discussionabout various coaching vacancies, including Notre Dame's.

Coaching the Irish would have raised Kent's national profile instantly, but his loyalty to Oregon was more important.

"It wasn't about the money," Kent said. "Notre Dame called, and I looked into it, and this is the outcome."

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