It’s been nearly 48 hours since the Notre Dame Fighting Irish basketball program announced that assistant coach Ryan Ayers was no longer with the program, and still it remains unclear exactly what happened.
Notre Dame men's basketball staff update. pic.twitter.com/SBtBWXx6Ec— @NDmbb Athletic Comms (@NDmbbSID) September 21, 2020
Ayers, a 2009 grad and former ND basketball captain, was hired as an assistant before the 2016-2017 season along with fellow former Irish player Ryan Humphrey to fill voids in Mike Brey’s staff left when Martin Ingelsby took the Delaware Blue Hens head coaching job and Anthony Solomon took an assistant role with the Georgetown Hoyas.
Both were considered an injection of youth into an otherwise fairly stagnant Brey staff — two former starters under Brey who understood Notre Dame, his program, and what it took to succeed there. Ayers had also spent the two seasons prior as an assistant at Bucknell, so he came in with some good coaching experience following a handful of years bouncing around the NBA D-League, Finland, and France as a pro player.
Ayers especially was always a player whom Brey wanted to bring back as an assistant, so it’s especially odd that after finally getting him there, he’d leave after just four seasons with no indication of his “other opportunities” or any real well wishes from the program in their official announcement. No one saw this coming.
Even Tom Noie, one of the guys most dialed-in to anything and everything happening with the Irish men’s program, wrote only an article discussing how odd this all seems, with no real insight into what might have caused such a brief, impersonal goodbye to the young coach.
With Scott Martin quickly moved into an interim assistant role, it’s unclear if and when we will learn more about Ayers’ sudden, shocking withdrawal from the Irish coaching staff. It’s never good to assume, but this definitely doesn’t seem like a positive thing, which doesn’t help during a week where it was also announced that junior-to-be Robby Carmody underwent surgery for a broken kneecap, marking the third straight season that poor kid will miss time due to a significant injury.
It’s rough times for the Irish hoops program right now, you guys. Hopefully with Martin stepping in on the staff and other talented wing players on the roster like Dane Goodwin, Cormac Ryan, and maybe even true freshman Tony Sanders Jr., the team will manage without Ayers and Carmody.
Either way, it’s definitely not making any of us feel optimistic going forward — here’s to hoping whenever the 2020-2021 season begins for the Irish, they’re able to build on the past couple disappointing years and compete in the ACC, despite some tough losses in the fall just a couple months before the season begins.