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Who are the top candidates to fill Notre Dame’s head coaching vacancy?

Where will the Irish turn to with Brey gone?

Penn State v Texas Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Update March 22 5:40 p.m. Pete Thamel of ESPN is reporting Micah Shrewsberry of Penn State will be the new head coach in South Bend.

As the rest of the nation turns toward the excitement of the NCAA Tournament, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, left on the outside for the fourth time in five years, are on the hunt for a new head coach. Mike Brey stepped down after 23 years with the Irish and is expected to sign with the South Florida Bulls next year, while ND is still searching for his replacement.

The new head coach will have his work cut out for him, essentially building from the ground up at Notre Dame. While they will have financial and recruiting resources, the newest coach will have very little foundation upon which to build as players enter the transfer portal and graduate.

Who are some of the top candidates for the vacancy in South Bend? Let’s take a look.

Micah Shrewsberry - Penn State

Shrewsberry has become quite the desired target for several big-name programs after boosting Penn State to more than just relevancy in the postseason. The Nittany Lions went all the way to the Big Ten Championship Game as the No. 10 seed, losing on a missed buzzer beater, before heading to the NCAA Tournament and crushing Texas A&M in the first round. Shrewsberry has a history in South Bend and has spent much of his career in Indiana. Penn State is unlikely to give up its coach without a fight. There could be a bidding war here.

Pat Kelsey - Charleston

The College of Charleston made quite the splash this season, reaching the AP Top 25 at one point in the season. Kelsey got the Cougars from 17-15 in 2021-22 to 31-4 in 2022-23, reaching the NCAA Tournament after winning their conference championship. He recently signed a contract extension that includes a $1 million buyout, which may be a financial obstacle for Notre Dame.

Dusty May - FAU

Florida Atlantic is headed to the Sweet 16 after wins over Memphis and Fairleigh Dickinson. May has been with FAU since 2018 and has not had a losing season there. The improvement over five seasons is very clear, and while Conference USA to the ACC would be a big jump, May could be a risk that would pay off big-time.

Matt Langel - Colgate

Langel has been at Colgate for over a decade now, and Notre Dame would be a big leap from the Patriot League. But Colgate has been either the regular season champion or the conference tournament champion (or both) every year since 2019.

Darian DeVries - Drake

DeVries spent the better part of two decades as an assistant at Creighton before moving to become the head coach of Drake in 2018. As a head coach, he has not yet had a season with less than 20 wins, and has reached the NCAA Tournament twice. He is a two-time Missouri Valley Coach of the Year. The Notre Dame move seems like a logical next step given that success.