Kyle Brey got the call on Valentine’s Day. It was Ardrey Kell. The school offered him its head football coaching position. It was the opportunity Brey had been waiting for, and he accepted it immediately.
He replaces Joe Evans, who resigned Jan. 18, after guiding the Knights to a 13-12 (8-6 So. Meck 8) record, two playoff appearances, including a run to the second round in 2015. Brey will likely teach social studies when he arrives later this semester, but plans to transition to the athletic department in the fall as a weightlifting or P.E. teacher.
“We were thorough with everything, and he’s just impressive all the way through,” Ardrey Kell athletics director Brian Knab said. “He’s ready for a head-coaching position. I think he’s going to do a great job here.”
“I’m excited the process is over. I’m excited for our student athletes, because there’s always some uncertainty when you go through a transition. I know they’re eager to get going with offseason workouts and getting ready for spring practices.”
Brey, who is the son of Notre Dame men’s basketball coach Mike Brey, works for the Fighting Irish in event management as a part of the university’s athletics department.
This will be the first head-coaching job the 30-year-old has had, but he brings college playing and coaching experience along with a strong pedigree that has been influenced by some of the sport’s biggest names.
Brey played college football for Buffalo under coach Turner Gill. He followed Gill to Kansas, where he served as a graduate assistant for two years. He joined Bo Pelini at Nebraska for two years, then followed him to Youngstown State before taking a position on Urban Meyer’s staff at Ohio State for a year.
One night when Brey got home late from work, his wife, Shea, asked when they were going to not move so much and settle down. He couldn’t give her a good answer. The couple had just welcomed a baby girl named Olivia, who is now a year-and-a-half old. Brey knew it was time for a change, so he told Meyer he thought it would be good for him to be a high school coach. That would enable him to spend more time with his family. It would give him the balance he and his family needs.
He resigned, then returned to South Bend. Brey’s wife’s family is moving east. They wanted to be near them. When Brey served under Pelini he recruited the south Charlotte area, which made him familiar with Ardrey Kell. So, he quickly threw his name in the hat when he saw the job-listing online. It didn’t hurt that south Charlotte is significantly warmer than South Bend, which was a selling point for his wife.
“The name Ardrey Kell is a powerful brand,” Brey said. “It was amazing to be able to go down there and see the campus (and) the culture. The atmosphere that their administration has created there is second to none. Who wouldn’t want to be a part at a place that wants to be a champion athletically and academically?”
Knab said Brey has the majority of input in terms of building his coaching staff. Brey and the administration already discussed that process. The first step will begin in-house with the program’s current assistant coaches, who have teaching and faculty positions in the school. Those are the most important folks for him to talk with, because they’re around the student athletes all day.
Beyond that Brey isn’t looking as much for guys that are great football coaches, but more who are excited about the type of program they want to build at Ardrey Kell. He cares most about finding people on board with the administration’s mission and vision, because it’s important for the players to hear all of the coaches speaking the same language.
Brey wants to evaluate his personnel before he installs systems on offense and defense. He wants Ardrey Kell to be known for teaching fundamental football better than anyone in the state.