Mike Brey's mother passed away hours before Notre Dame's March Madness win over Butler

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By: Jon Zimney

“It was a long day…”

Words from Notre Dame head basketball coach Mike Brey, who surprised his team after Saturday’s win over Butler with news that his mother died earlier in the day.

Betty Brey, 84, suffered a heart attack on Saturday morning, March 21.

Brey says there was no way he could tell the team prior to the game, knowing that would weigh on them as they were on the court.

According to ESPN, Betty Mullen Brey was an exceptional athlete. She swam on the 1956 U.S. Olympic team and held the world record in the butterfly for a period of time. She was also a swim coach at George Washington University.

Betty Brey made sure her children were competitors and never stopped pushing her son, even after he became head coach for Notre Dame men’s basketball team.

“I’d talk to her during the season and it was rarely, ‘How are you doing?'” Brey told ESPN. “It was, ‘You got them ready? Are they ready? Because I think we can beat Duke, Mike.’ She was intense.”

Brey said he would be with his family in Florida on Sunday. He is expected back at Notre Dame on Monday.