Mike Brey coaches for second time in 2015 after death of parent

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Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Notre Dame coach Mike Brey coached the Irish to an 87-78 win over Youngstown State on Monday night despite the death of his father, Paul, on Saturday in Florida.

Brey, whose mother, Betty, died in March just hours before the Irish played in the second round of the NCAA tournament against Butler, addressed his father's death after Notre Dame's win.

"My dad was in bad shape, and it's really a blessing," Brey said. "In my mind, I picture him and Mom at Christmas together, and I'm going to spend some good time with my brother and sister on Christmas evening, and we'll tell some really great stories."

Betty Brey died of a heart attack at 84 on March 21, the same day her son broke through to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA tournament for the first time as a coach. After that game, Brey, who knew beforehand of his mother's death and was encouraged by his brother and sister to coach the game, said the narrow win over Butler was in honor of his mother.

"It was kind of a tribute to her," Brey said. "It was really a special night. ... I think she was definitely with us down the stretch."

Brey kept the news of his mother's death to himself, and his players found out only when Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick told them in the locker room after the game.

ESPN.com's Dana O'Neil and The Associated Press contributed to this report.