Delaware in­tro­duces In­gelsby as hoops coach

Cecil Whig - - SPORTS - By SEAN GROGAN

sgro­gan@ce­cil­whig.com

— It had been more than two months since the Uni­ver­sity of Delaware men’s bas­ket­ball team had a head coach.

That changed Tues­day as Ath­letic Di­rec­tor Chrissi Rawak an­nounced the hir­ing of Notre Dame as­sis­tant coach Martin In­gelsby.

Rawak her­self had been hired only 13 days prior. The Uni­ver­sity had an­nounced it would fill that void be­fore con­duct­ing its search for a men’s bas­ket­ball coach.

In­gelsby, 37, played point guard for Notre Dame and spent the pre­vi­ous 13 sea­sons on its coach­ing staff. He was of­fi­cially in­tro­duced Wed­nes­day morn­ing.

“It’s a great aca­demic in­sti­tu­tion. Leav­ing a place like the Uni­ver­sity of Notre Dame, to be able to at­tract the same type of stu­dent ath­letes was re­ally ap­peal­ing – guys that want to ex­cel in the class­room as much as they want to ex­cel on the bas­ket­ball court,” In­gelsby said. “I know we have our work cut out for us. I know they haven’t had a coach for two months, but it’s a great chal­lenge for us. It’s go­ing to be all about the process that goes into place for be­ing suc­cess­ful and we’re go­ing to take it day by day and try to get bet­ter and put my own stamp on this pro­gram.

“I think I have a great blue­print for how things are done, com­ing from the Uni­ver­sity of Notre Dame in my ex­pe­ri­ences there as a player and as a coach un­der Mike Brey.”

Brey served as Delaware’s head coach from 1995-2000, be­fore leav­ing to lead the Fight­ing Ir­ish. The Blue Hens earned two NCAA Tour­na­ment berths un­der Brey and ap­peared in the NIT.

In­gelsby’s se­nior sea­son was Notre Dame’s first un­der Brey, who is still held in high re­gards around Ne­wark.

“One of the things I’ll never for­get is, when he got the job at Notre Dame, I was not on cam­pus for sum­mer school. He flew into Philly, he drove up and he talked to me about our bas­ket­ball pro­gram. That’s some­thing I’ll al­ways re­mem­ber, I love Coach Brey,” In­gelsby said. “I’m not Mike Brey, I’m go­ing to be the best Martin In­gelsby I can. I’m ex­cited for this chal­lenge, we’ve got our work cut out for us. I will use him as a re­source as much as I can. I told him ‘Don’t delete my num­ber.’”

Brey still va­ca­tions in Delaware and will be in Re­hoboth Beach this week. He in­vited In­gelsby down to cel­e­brate.

NE­WARK, DEL.

In­gelsby re­peat­edly ac­knowl­edged the dif­fi­cult sit­u­a­tion he is walk­ing into. The Blue Hens won just seven games last win­ter and two of the top would-be re­turn­ers have an­nounced their plans to trans­fer else­where.

Ju­nior-to-be Kory Holden, a tal­ented point guard who led Delaware in scor­ing and as­sists last sea­son, will trans­fer to South Carolina. Chivarsky Cor­bett, who along with Holden was named to the CAA All-Rookie Team in 2015, will head to Texas-San An­to­nio.

Four other play­ers re­ceived re­leases to trans­fer dur­ing the pe­riod of un­cer­tainty. If they all re­main at Delaware, In­gelsby will have nine schol­ar­ship play­ers on his ros­ter. Divi­sion I bas­ket­ball teams are al­lot­ted 13 schol­ar­ships.

Spec­u­la­tion that for­mer coach Monté Ross would not be re­signed at the end of the 2014-15 sea­son led to the pro­gram re­ceiv­ing no com­mit­ments in the 2015 re­cruit­ing class. The two-month pe­riod with­out a head coach puts Delaware in grave dan­ger of a sec­ond-straight year with­out an in­com­ing re­cruit. In­gelsby is hope­ful to land a com­mit­ment by the start of the aca­demic year.

“We have to be smart. We gotta do our due dili­gence on the type of kids we want to re­cruit, but ab­so­lutely, we gotta get one or two or three guys to add to this pro­gram and re­ally get them en­grained in our com­mu­nity and our cul­ture,” he said. “I’ve got to fig­ure out kind of who we are first be­fore we add to the mix, but def­i­nitely, there are guys that have reached out rec­om­mend­ing guys. I just want to make smart de­ci­sions in that area.”

Grow­ing up in sub­ur­ban Philadel­phia, In­gelsby is con­nected in the area. It’s a re­gion of the coun­try Notre Dame re­cruited ex­ten­sively for tal­ent.

“At Notre Dame, we spent a lot of time re­cruit­ing I-95. There’s an edge about kids on I-95, it’s been a fo­cus of ours,” he said. “There’s some­thing about kids in the North­east. There’s an edge about them, they play great bas­ket­ball … Grow­ing up in the Philadel­phia area and be­ing around bas­ket­ball my whole life. My dad played at Vil­lanova, he played in the NBA, so ever since I was younger, you al­ways had a ball in your hand.”

He called nearby Bal­ti­more and Wash­ing­ton DC “fer­tile re­cruit­ing grounds” that Delaware needs to tap into.

Ross was fired March 18 af­ter 10 sea­sons. The Blue Hens went 25-10, won the CAA cham­pi­onship and earned an NCAA Tour­na­ment berth in 2014, but it was one of just three win­ning sea­sons dur­ing his ten­ure.

The pe­riod since the fir­ing has been un­easy for the re­main­ing play­ers.

“There was a lot of con­fu­sion. There was a lot of un­cer­tainty. Guys were get­ting ner­vous as we were get­ting down to the end of the year,” ris­ing se­nior Barnett Har­ris said. “Re­lief was the first emo­tion that hit the locker room. We were jump­ing around be­cause the news had broke be­fore it was for­mally an­nounced, so we were all tex­ting each other … We were clean­ing up the locker like, ‘Hope Coach likes this.’ We were just very re­lieved, it was such a weight off our shoul­ders.”

In­gelsby knows ex­actly what that ex­pe­ri­ence is like for a col­lege bas­ket­ball player.

“I told the guys yesterday, I played for three coaches in four years at Notre Dame,” he said. “I have a re­ally good per­spec­tive, I un­der­stand what they’re go­ing through. No­body en­vies that, that’s hard for th­ese 18-22 year-old kids to not have a coach for two months. They’re kind out out there in no-man’s land by them­selves, so I give them a lot of credit for be­ing in that locker room yesterday and not leav­ing. It shows me that th­ese guys re­ally en­joy be­ing at Delaware.”

Meet­ing the play­ers was In­gelsby’s first oder of busi­ness, much to the ap­pre­ci­a­tion of his new boss.

“One of the first things he asked was ‘I want to meet the team,’ and that right there is a mes­sage unto it­self that his fo­cus and what he’s go­ing to con­trib­ute will be about that team and about those play­ers,” Rawak said. “I said a few words, in­tro­duced him, then left. It’s his team, his time. He had that mo­ment, which was re­ally im­por­tant. When they came out of the locker room, they were smil­ing.”

In­gelsby’s first action was to shake ev­ery hand. He was thrilled to see some of the play­ers stick around to work out af­ter the meet­ing.

“We’re go­ing to have a lot of fun. I want those guys smil­ing, I want them ex­cited to come to the gym to work. Things are go­ing to be dif­fer­ent, they have to em­brace that. I think they need that, they want that,” In­gelsby said. “Things are go­ing to be harder. When you go 7-23 like last year, things have to change.”

His first six sea­sons at Notre Dame were spent as di­rec­tor of bas­ket­ball op­er­a­tions. In­gelsby was pro­moted to as­sis­tant coach in 2009, a po­si­tion he has held for seven sea­sons. The Fight­ing Ir­ish played in six NCAA Tour­na­ments dur­ing that span and have reached the Elite 8 in back-to-back years, ad­vanc­ing that far for the first time since 1979.

“I come from a place where we won a lot,” In­gelsby said. “We got great mo­men­tum at Notre Dame and I think that win­ning for­mula can be brought to the Uni­ver­sity of Delaware and our bas­ket­ball pro­gram.”

Fol­low Sean Grogan on Twit­ter: @Sean_Ce­cilWhig

UD PHOTO BY MARK CAMP­BELL

Martin In­gelsby was in­tro­duced as the Uni­ver­sity of Delaware men’s bas­ket­ball coach Wed­nes­day in the Bob Car­pen­ter Cen­ter.

CE­CIL WHIG PHOTO BY SEAN GROGAN

Elkton ju­nior mid­fielder Tyler Du­rant was named first team Al­lSusque­hanna Divi­sion in boys’ lacrosse.

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