Ex-Trinity Catholic coach Kriftcher takes over at Notre Dame-Fairfield
The final boys basketball game for the storied Trinity Catholic program — and the school’s last athletic event overall — was an 83-49 victory over Notre Dame-Fairfield in the opening round of the Division I state tournament.
Ironically, the next boys basketball game former Trinity Catholic coach Brian Kriftcher coaches will be at Notre Dame-Fairfield next December. Notre Dame announced Kriftcher’s hiring on Tuesday evening.
“For me, it’s the perfect fit,” Kriftcher said. “It’s like any other coaching experience. Ultimately, it’s about how you can build a culture, care about one another, have high character and work hard.”
Trinity Catholic announced it was closing in late February. The COVID-19 pandemic led to the cancellation of the CIAC postseason winter tournaments two weeks later, and then the entire spring season.
Kriftcher replaces interim coach Shawn Stanco, who went 4-17 in his only season at the helm. He was replacing Chris Watts, who left last October to take an assistant coach’s position at Mercy College.
Kriftcher said he reached out to Notre Dame athletic director Rob Bleggi shortly after that last game and before the job was posted.
“It’s almost too good to be true, It’s a great situation, a great opportunity,” Kriftcher said. “We can build a really good, authentic credible program.”
Kriftcher had coached at Trinity Catholic the last two seasons after being an assistant under Mike Walsh, who will be joining the staff at Notre Dame. Before that, Kriftcher was the head coach at St. Luke’s (2010-14).
In between, Kriftcher coached his daughter for two seasons at Westhill.
He takes a ton of pride in being president of the Stamford Peace Youth Foundation. Kriftcher started the after-school program in 2008, a place to “use basketball combined with academics to help kids realize their full potential.”
Kriftcher is also an executive board member and immediate past chairman of PeacePlayers International, a non-profit organization similar to what the Stamford Peace Youth Foundation provides, but more on a worldwide level.
“The experience and professionalism he will bring with him will only help continue the winning tradition of boys’ basketball at ND.” Notre Dame athletic director Rob Bleggi said in a statement.
With Trinity Catholic closing, a number of former athletes are applying to other schools, including Notre Dame. Kriftcher indicated several students could likely end up playing for him again, but would not specify who since the admissions process isn’t completed yet.
“There are a number of former Trinity players who have applied and likely will be at Notre Dame,” Kriftcher said. “They will be the best ambassadors for the way we do things. We play hard and we play for one another.”