NEWARK, Del. — Martin Ingelsby admits he’s not the most famous member of his family. That honor belongs to his younger brother Brad, the award-winning screenwriter and producer of the HBO hit series, “Mare of Easttown,” which won four Emmy and two Critics Choice awards.
Brad Ingelsby has also written “Run All Night” (featuring Liam Neeson and Ed Harris), “American Woman” (Sienna Miller), “The Way Back” (Ben Affleck) and “Out of the Furnace” (Christian Bale and Woody Harrelson ).
“I feel like he won the national championship,” elder brother Martin said Tuesday. “What he’s been able to accomplish over the last couple of years is amazing.”
Big brother’s accomplishments aren’t too shabby, either.
In six years as the men’s basketball coach at Delaware, Martin Inglesby has won 95 games, posted two 20-win seasons and four consecutive winning campaigns, and he has the Blue Hens (22-12) in the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2014 and just the sixth time in program history.
Of course, Villanova (25-7) is Delaware’s opponent in the first round. Hey, the NCAA and TV like a good story line, too, and the 2:45 pm matchup between the neighboring programs at PPG Arena in Pittsburgh is chock full of them.
Ingelsby’s father, Tom, is a member of the Villanova Athletics Hall of Fame and his retired jersey hangs in the rafters at the Pavilion. Brothers Brad and Tom, and sister Chrissi, are all Villanova graduates.
As for Martin, a two-time All-Delco at Archbishop Carroll and the 1997 Daily Times boys basketball Player and Athlete of the Year?
He went to Notre Dame.
“I was a diehard Villanova fan growing up,” Ingelsby said. “I talked to Coach (Steve) Lappas and his staff about him. They never offered me a scholarship. I just think my path was different. I would have considered it but I really fell in love with Notre Dame. I grew up a big Notre Dame football fan. My dad loves the Irish, so I just felt it was the best situation for me. I wouldn’t change it for anything.”
The decision to attend Notre Dame changed his life. Ingelsby played for Mike Brey as a senior and then spent 13 seasons on Brey’s coaching staff, six as the director of basketball operations and seven as an assistant coach.
He had a chance to leave many times. Ingelsby said he interviewed for a head coaching position nine times and even turned down one or two, but those schools weren’t the right fit. Delawarewas.
“It’s always been my dream job,” Ingelsby said.
Brey had a lot to do with that. He has coached the Blue Hens for five seasons, taking them to the NCAA tournament twice, before moving on to Notre Dame in 2000.
“Mike always talked glowingly about the school,” Ingelsby said. “He always talked about the community, the pride of being a Blue Hen in this great state and how they rallied around him when they got it going. And it was a place where he could learn to be a head coach, and I feel I’ve grown so much as a leader, a communicator, as a head coach, building a program, building a culture and you see the fruits of the labor with all the hard work we’ve put in. And it was a chance to get back to the East Coast.
“I was in the Midwest for a really long time; (but) get back close to family and friends and a corridor that we’re familiar with and be able to recruit really, really good talent. This place has great alignment from president to athletic director and down to all the head coaches and I just thought it was a sleeping giant of an opportunity. “
The Blue Hens were coming off two straight losing seasons, including a 7-23 mark in 2015-16, when Ingelsby took over after Monte Ross was fired. Ingelsby went 13-20 and 14-19 in his first two seasons before going 17-16 in 2018-19. In the last three years the Blue Hens have gone 22-11, 7-8, 22-12.
The additions of transfers Dylan Painter (Villanova), Haverford School grad Jameer Nelson Jr. (George Washington) and Jyare Davis (Providence) have been critical to Delaware’s success this season, but it was a complete turnaround in the Colonial Athletic Association tournament that has the Blue Hens in the big dance.
Delaware lost its final three games of the regular season and did not look like a team bound for the postseason. But the Blue Hens bounced back and beat fourth-seeded Drexel, top-seeded Towson and second-seeded UNC-Wilmington to punch its tournament ticket.
The Blue Hens lost twice to all three of those teams in the regular season.
“It shows the character of our group.” Ingelsby said “They’ve been able to persevere through some tough times. We were a beaten down group going into the conference tournament but they came back to work and got after it. I think they challenged each other. I saw that competitive spirit come out. It’s amazing what one win can do for the confidence of a team.”
And if the Blue Hens can pull off the upset, that would make for an even better story. Maybe one Brad Ingelsby can turn into a script? He and his family of him are flying in from Pittsburgh to see his big brother’s team take on his alma mater.
“He may be one of the most popular guys in the arena,” Martin Ingelsby said of his brother the writer.