Oct. 27, 2016
NOTRE DAME, Ind. –
By Leigh Torbin
The inaugural winner of the WBCA’s Assistant Coach of the Year and a contributor to every one of Notre Dame’s seven Final Four appearances, including the 2001 national championship, Niele Ivey has been integral to the long-term success of the Irish women’s basketball program.
Ivey is being rewarded for her contributions to the program with a promotion to associate head coach while she will also remain as the team’s recruiting coordinator.
“I am so proud of Niele and so thankful for the great work that she continues to do,” Karen and Kevin Keyes Family Head Women’s Basketball Coach Muffet McGraw said. “It has been amazing to witness Niele develop into the top assistant coach in the nation over the past 10 years. Her work with our guards has been instrumental to our success on the court. As a mentor to the young women in our program, she is an invaluable resource. Niele has shown continued success in building relationships and recruiting elite high-character players to Notre Dame.
“As one of my former All-American point guards, it has been really special for me to watch Niele’s development and growth within our profession. We value her influence daily, and I couldn’t be happier to reward her for the great job she has done in all facets of our program.”
“It’s an absolute honor and privilege to work for Muffet McGraw and to work at the University of Notre Dame,” Ivey said. “Notre Dame has opened so many doors and has given me so many amazing opportunities professionally, academically, and athletically as a student-athlete and now associate head coach. I am living my dream and am so grateful for this promotion.
“I can’t thank coach McGraw enough for believing in me and supporting me. She has been instrumental in my growth and development as a coach and I’m so blessed to learn from and work for her on a daily basis.”
Entering her 10th season at her alma mater, Ivey has helped the Irish post a 283-44 (.865) over her first nine seasons on McGraw’s coaching staff, including trips to five consecutive Final Fours from 2011-15. Ivey has helped guide the Irish to nine regular season or tournament conference championships over the past five years.
As a coach, Ivey has excelled preparing Notre Dame’s guards for success. Current point guard Lindsay Allen is a two-time finalist for the Nancy Lieberman Award, and honor claimed in both 2012 and 2013 by Notre Dame’s Skylar Diggins. Diggins was a four-time All-American and graduated either holding or sharing 32 school records for her hometown Irish, including her record 2,357 career points. She was a first-team All-WNBA selection in 2014 after being the third pick in the 2013 WNBA Draft. Chronologically between them, Jewell Loyd was the 2015 espnW National Player of the Year and a two-time All-America selection before being chosen with the first overall pick in the 2015 WNBA Draft by Seattle, going on to win WNBA Rookie of the Year accolades for the Storm.
An All-American player herself for the Irish from 1997-2001, Ivey was the starting point guard on Notre Dame’s 2001 national championship squad and was also a member of the school’s first Final Four in 1997. Ivey was a three-time All-BIG EAST selection, the recipient of the 2001 Frances Pomeroy Naismith Award and a finalist for the 2001 Nancy Lieberman Award.
A second round selection of the Indiana Fever in the 2001 WNBA Draft, Ivey played in the league through 2005 with the Fever, Detroit Shock and Phoenix Mercury before embarking upon her award-winning coaching career.
Ivey will help lead a talented Irish squad in 2016-17 as, in addition to Allen, Notre Dame returns All-American forward Brianna Turner, the ACC Player of the Year, along with other regular 2015-16 contributors while adding two recipients of major national high school player of the year accolades (Erin Boley and Jackie Young). Notre Dame captured both the regular season and tournament ACC championships last winter while making its seventh consecutive Sweet 16 appearance.
The Irish open their 2016-17 slate on Nov. 11 when they play host to Central Michigan in the opening round of the Preseason WNIT.
Leigh Torbin, athletics communications associate director at the University of Notre Dame, has been part of the Fighting Irish athletics communications team since 2013 and coordinates all media efforts for Notre Dame’s women’s basketball and men’s golf teams. A native of Framingham, Massachusetts, Torbin graduated from the University of Massachusetts in 1998 with a bachelor’s degree in sports management. He has previously worked full-time on the athletic communications staffs at Vanderbilt, Florida, Connecticut and UCF.