SOUTH BEND, IN (WTAJ) — Whether it was happy coincidence, or purposeful vendetta, Penn State basketball introduced it’s new head basketball coach Mike Rhoades just hours after Notre Dame introduced it’s new basketball coach, Micah Shrewsberry.
“I’d always drive by this going home and dreamed about what it would be like to coach here,” he said. “Now in 2023, I’m getting that opportunity. Believing in yourself and in your dreams, that has really come true.”
The Indiana native joins Notre Dame after two seasons with Penn State, a tenure in which he took a Nittany Lions team that was decimated by transfers, and led it back to the NCAA Tournament, winning the program’s first tournament game since 2001.
He replaces Mike Bray who announced during the season he would step down at the end of the year. Shrewsberry said he didn’t even consider the opening at Notre Dame until the year ended, reinforcing what he’d said in Chicago during the Big Ten Tournament.
“I owe that to the kids on our team at Penn State,” he said. “Those guys have given a lot. We were trying to do something special at that school – hadn’t been to the NCAA Tournament since 2011 and hadn’t won a game since 2001. That was our main focus. We had some seniors who had given a lot. We had seniors and players who took a chance on me.
An Indiana native, Shrewsberry made it clear it was hard to pass up on coming home, even noting that he grew up a Fighting Irish fan.
“I probably didn’t have a chance but to love Notre Dame. The amount of classmates that went to school here, we had the gold helmets at our high school, the Irish mascot. It was destiny for me to be there. I really believe that,” he said.
Shrewsberry also noted that took the job believing he can bring a championship to South Bend. Notre Dame hasn’t been to the Final Four since 1978 and has just three Sweet 16 appearances since the turn of the century. Still, he described the basketball culture as special.
“I don’t really have any hobbies. (It’s) my family and basketball, right? Like everybody talks about basketball is what I do. It’s not who I am. No, no, it’s what I do, and it’s who I am. That’s what brought me back in,” he said. “You can do special things here at a place that loves basketball.”