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Three weeks ago, Brey junked Notre Dame’s shootaround routine in favor of a game of knockout. Brey took the first shot, an airball. That night the Irish hit a school-record 20 3-pointers and beat Villanova.

That’s classic Brey, like the mock turtlenecks he wears on the bench. To scream or berate players on the sideline isn’t his style. He’s approachable. A communicator. Someone who listens. Even remembers names. An old adage of Wootten’s guided him: Be the kind of coach you want your son or daughter to play for. Brey has an adage of his own: You can’t hit someone in the back of the head with a two-by-four all the time.

Paul Brey sees his parenting style in that. Don’t yell or carry on. Give the kid a reason why something didn’t work or find a way around the problem without conflict.

Just don’t mistake that for a lack of intensity, same as the 13-year-old kid who didn’t want to hear no 38 years ago.

After an overtime loss at Louisville in 2006 — Notre Dame’s fifth in a row — the pilot on the charter flight back to South Bend offered a tour of the cockpit. Two freshmen — Zach Hillesland and Kyle McAlarney — headed up.

“I could almost see steam coming out of (Brey‘s) ears,” Kearney said. “There’s a very fierce competitor inside. … There’s the level of competitiveness that burns inside him to put out the best team he possibly can each night.”