It was certainly a blow a few weeks ago when Notre Dame Fighting Irish men’s hoops assistant coach Ryan Humphrey — a talented, up-and-coming coach and alumnus of ND — accepted an assistant coach position under Porter Moser on the Oklahoma Sooners staff.
As many of you know, Humphrey began his collegiate career at Oklahoma (and is a Tulsa, OK native) before transferring to Notre Dame, being named an All-Big 12 performer in his sophomore season prior to transferring, sitting out a season, and then twice being named an All-Big East player while averaging a double-double for the Irish (and eventually being drafted 19th overall by the Utah Jazz and then traded on draft night to the Orlando Magic).
Humphrey was an important member of the staff because of his youth and energy, his personal experience as a Notre Dame student athlete and graduate, his expertise down low as a big man, and having been one of the bigger success stories from the Mike Brey era, considering he’s one of just a select few to be a 1st round pick after playing at ND in the coach’s tenure.
So, with a position open, Brey has been quoted as saying he’s been not only on the road watching prospective players play and recruiting them, but also networking with fellow coaches and figuring out whom to bring in to replace Humphrey.
Now, it appears he’s zeroed in on a likely candidate, as Pete Thamel was the first to report Monday morning that the Irish were seriously targeting a specific coach in the America East Conference.
Sources: Notre Dame is targeting Albany assistant Hamlet Tibbs to be an assistant basketball coach. He spent a year at Albany after seven seasons at Vermont, which included three NCAA bids.— Pete Thamel (@PeteThamel) July 25, 2022
Tibbs’ resume isn’t exactly chock-a-block with top-flight experience, but his 7-year stint with the Vermont Catamounts was an incredibly successful one, with the team going 166-61 (92-18 in conference play) during that time while winning 4 regular season conference titles and 3 conference tournament titles. A little over a year ago, he moved to Albany to be an assistant under new head coach Dwayne Killings — the Great Danes went 13-18 in that initial season.
Prior to Albany and Vermont, Tibbs coached for 5 years at The Albany Academy and also was an assistant director and volunteer coach with the Albany City Rocks, which is an AAU program that boasts a number of famous alumni, including Tobias Harris, Jimmer Fredette, Kevin Huerter, Talor Battle, Mark Lyons, Andray Blatche, Isaiah Stewart, Tyler Lydon, Joe Girard III, and Notre Dame’s very own current blue-chip freshman, J.J. Starling.
Tibbs played basketball at Hudson Valley Community College before transferring to West Virginia to get a degree specializing in coaching while student-managing for John Beilein.
So, it looks like Mike Brey is making good on his quote last week about looking to bring in a younger, up-and-coming coach, considering the experience he already brought into the staff with Anthony Solomon and Antoni Wyche last year.
Plus, as an added bonus, he’s bringing in one of the better coaching names I’ve seen in a while, considering there will be PLENTY of opportunities to make Shakespearean references as well as some solid Hardball jokes with a last name like Tibbs.
Needless to say, I hope/plan to have a lot more Twitter exchanges like these in the next few years as Hamlet Tibbs joins the staff and does what a Hamlet Tibbs can do:
Hamlet Tibbs— Not a Fan of Sports (@Psully226) July 25, 2022
It should be fun to see if the young, relatively inexperienced coach can make a smooth transition to major conference basketball after enjoying some solid success at the mid-major level for the last near-decade.