McGraw Steps Down After Hall of Fame Career
“If we searched for an entire year. I don’t think we would find anyone better suited for our program.”
On May 18, 1987, the late former Notre Dame Director of Athletics Gene Corrigan uttered those words when he announced the hiring of Muffet McGraw as the third head coach of the Fighting Irish women’s basketball program.
Now, 33 seasons, two national championships and a hall of fame career later, Karen & Kevin Keyes Family Head Coach Muffet McGraw will step down from her post. McGraw will officially announce her retirement from coaching on Wednesday, April 22 at 4:30 p.m. ET as part of a virtual press conference.
“It has been my great honor to represent the University of Notre Dame these past 33 years, but the time has come for me to step down as your head basketball coach,” McGraw stated. “I want to thank Monk Malloy and Father Jenkins for giving me the opportunity to coach the game I love at a university I love. I have learned much about leadership from the many athletic directors with whom I have served, and in particular, I want to thank Jack Swarbrick for his unwavering support.
“I am grateful to have worked with the best assistant coaches in the business, and I have been blessed to coach so many phenomenal women.
“To the best fans in the country, it was my honor and privilege to play for you.”
The 13th female coach inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2017, McGraw racked up an impressive 936 career wins (ranks sixth all-time among Division I coaches), including 848 at Notre Dame. During the 2018-19 season, McGraw became the fourth-fastest coach to reach the 900-win milestone.
While McGraw will be stepping away from the court, she will remain active within the university and local communities.
“It is inevitable and appropriate that as we mark Muffet’s retirement from coaching today, much of the focus will be on the remarkable record of competitive success that makes her a Hall of Fame coach,” Vice President and James E. Rohr Notre Dame Director of Athletics Jack Swarbrick stated. “But my reflections go more to her as an educator, friend, and role model. Every time I had the privilege of stepping into her classroom, be it at practice or courtside during a game, I was struck by how much she cared about her students and how important it was for her to use basketball as a vehicle to help develop future leaders.
“Winning over 900 games and two national championships make Muffet a legendary coach; nurturing “strong confident women who are not afraid to use their voice and take a stand” makes Muffet a teacher who made a difference in the lives of every student-athlete she taught. While we will not have the benefit of Muffet as our coach going forward, we will make certain that through her ongoing work with Notre Dame Athletics we continue to enjoy all that she has to offer as an educator, friend, and role model.”
McGraw is one of just five NCAA Division I men’s or women’s basketball coaches with at least 930 wins, nine Final Fours and multiple titles – others include Pat Summitt, Tara VanDerveer, Geno Auriemma and Duke men’s coach Mike Krzyzewski.
Notre Dame’s two national championships under McGraw earned distinction as collegiate sports lore in their own right, from Ruth Riley converting two free throws in the final seconds in 2001 to Arike Ogunbowale’s “Ice Twice” heroics in 2018. Adding to the storybook tales, both championship wins took place on Easter Sunday.