Mike Brey won’t meet with Maryland officials; coaching search continues

Mike Brey won’t be Maryland’s next basketball coach, a source close to the process of finding Gary Williams’s successor said Sunday.

Brey was crossed off the list of potential candidates before having a formal conversation with Maryland athletic director Kevin Anderson because he’s committed to remaining at Notre Dame following the Irish’s 27-7 season, which earned him Big East Coach of the Year honors, the source said.

With Arizona’s Sean Miller agreeing to a contract extension that was announced Saturday night, that means Maryland’s search will launch into a new phase on Monday, focusing on a short list of names that haven’t necessarily been bandied about in the frenzied media reports that followed Williams’ stunning announcement last week that he was retiring after 22 years as coach of his alma mater.

“I don’t believe it’s going to be a long process,” said Maryland Athletic Director Kevin Anderson on Sunday. “We’re doing our due diligence, making sure we’re going to hire the right person.

“We’re just not going to panic and pick somebody who might not be the best fit for Maryland. We’re going to look at the whole person. Here’s what I’m looking for: Someone with most, if not all, of the qualities Gary Williams possessed.”

On many counts, Pittsburgh’s Jamie Dixon seemed to be that coach. Dixon, who has a close personal relationship with Anderson, was at the top of Maryland’s initial wish list. But like Brey and Villanova Coach Jay Wright, Dixon didn’t pursue the opening because of his loyalty to his present employer.

“I’m flattered by the interest,” Wright said in an email exchange early in the process, “but I love Villanova!”

Williams’s decision to retire came a shock to those close to him, including his players, many of his peers and Maryland officials. While he has made suggestions to Anderson about who might succeed him, Williams won’t be part of the official search process going forward.

On Monday Anderson is expected to meet with Maryland President Wallace Loh, and a search committee will be impaneled to be in position to review a short list of job candidates once they’re identified.

Liz Clarke currently covers the Washington Redskins for The Washington Post. She has also covered seven Olympic Games, two World Cups and written extensively about college sports, tennis and auto racing.

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