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The Shrew Era Begins

Written by Mike Stacey|Writer|Twitter (X): @MikeStaceyIT IG: @mikestaceyit

Photo Credit: Notre Dame Athletics


It's the beginning of a new era for Notre Dame hoops after the winningest coach in school history, Mike Brey, finished up his 23 year career with the Irish last season. Although it was not the way any of us wanted it to end, the writing was on the wall and it was time for new blood in South Bend. The Irish answered the bell by hiring coach Micah Shrewsberry, who in my opinion, was a slam dunk hire. Micah is an Indiana guy who took a struggling Penn State program to the NCAA tournament in only his second season, which saw Penn State win in the 1st round and almost upset #2 seed Texas in the second. Coach Shrewsberry demands good defense, physicality, and brings his passion to the game. This is exactly what Notre Dame needed after replacing Mike Brey and heading into unknown waters. Although Notre Dame is considered a football school, Micah will certainly meet that notion head on and challenge it. So far, he is off to a hot start.





It would not be an exaggeration to say that Coach Shrew inherited an absolute dumpster fire when he came to Notre Dame this offseason. Not only was this a program coming off of a 11–21 (3–17 ACC) record, but a roster that only saw 3 scholarship players from the previous year returning, none of them having played meaningful minutes last season. Putting together a competitive squad during the off-season was less of a concern than being able to actually field a team, but Shrewsberry did not make excuses, instead, he got to work! The Irish landed several transfers and a freshman class that ranked 26th by 247's Composite ranking. That was an INCREDIBLY impressive feat in a very short amount of time with a flailing program. Fast forward to the first game of the year this past Monday and coach pulled another rabbit out of his hat. He actually had fans in the stands for a non-conference game, against Niagra! In years past, Mike Brey had to beg, dance, throw food at the dining hall, to try to get butts in the seats at the Purcell Pavilion. The lack of attendance was incredibly concerning, and quite frankly, embarrassing. On Monday night the Irish hit 80% capacity in the stands compared to 51% in last years home opener vs Radford, and the difference in energy was palpable. Outside of Markus Burton's brilliant and record breaking 29 point performance, the highlight of the Irish win for me was Coach Shrew charging out on the court to fire up the crowd after a key Irish run. The crowd responded, and the Pavillion Center was once again electric. The breath of fresh air, fresh life, a fresh season, was like caffeine for the once docile Irish crowd. The team seemingly fed off of the energy which helped will them to a gritty, back and forth victory. A game that the Irish have lost many times in recent seasons. Although it was far from perfect, and against a small school, the fight and guts on this team was a welcome change. At one point at the end of the game, the Irish had four freshman on the floor, typically a disaster scenario for a close game in which composure is needed down the stretch. Instead, the young blood came out fearless and got the job done. Something that we did not see from a veteran squad the year prior.





This is only one game and there is plenty of room for improvement, especially in the shooting department where the Irish went 3 for 17 from three. That being said, who cares? This season should not be about wins and losses, I know fans don't enjoy hearing that, but having high expectations for this season's outcome would be setting yourself up for frustration. Instead, this season should be about changing the culture at Notre Dame. Enough being labeled as simply a "football school." Enough being that soft team that can't finish, that gets pushed around. Enough of having a home court environment whose volume is rivaled by the library during finals week. ENOUGH. What I have seen so far during this off-season and on Monday night, were steps in that direction, and although there is plenty of work to do and hardships to come on that journey, I couldn't be more excited. It is time for this program to have a tough, gritty, do what it takes attitude that puts them back on the national stage. Mike Brey showed it could be done but could not sustain it. Now, it's time for Micah Shrewsberry and staff to lead the Irish on their return to glory and when they get there, keep them there, where they belong.


Next game:

Notre Dame vs Western Carolina Catamounts

South Bend- Purcell Pavillion

2pm Tip Off



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