July 10, 2010
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Notre Dame head women’s basketball coach Muffet McGraw, the 2001 consensus national coach of the year and winner of more than 600 games in her illustrious career, today was named to the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame.
McGraw was one of six people — and the lone coach — named to the 2011 Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame Class, as announced in Uncasville, Conn., during the “WNBA vs. USA Basketball: The Stars at the Sun Game” that was televised live nationally on ESPN from Mohegan Sun Arena.
“Even though it’s been a few days since I first heard the news, I’m really still in a state of shock,” McGraw said. “To be included with such a tremendous group of contributors to the game of women’s basketball is an honor and something that will hold a special place in my heart forever. None of this would be remotely possible without the support of all of the outstanding players, assistant coaches, administrators, staff and fans I’ve had the great fortune to work with during my coaching career, beginning in Philadelphia at Archbishop Carroll High School and my alma mater, Saint Joseph’s University, continuing at Lehigh University, and most significantly during the 23 wonderful seasons I’ve spent here at Notre Dame.”
The others in McGraw’s Hall of Fame class include former Olympic gold medalists Ruthie Bolton (Auburn) and Vicky Bullett (Maryland), as well as Val Ackerman, the first WNBA president (1996-2005) and first female president of USA Basketball (2005-08), and a pair of three-time All-America players from the pre-NCAA era, Pearl Moore (Frances Marion) and Lometa Odom (Wayland Baptist).
The ’11 class will be officially introduced at the 2010 State Farm Tip-Off Classic in November, and then will be enshrined during the Hall’s 13th annual Induction Weekend in June 2011 at the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in Knoxville, Tenn. Dates for both the State Farm Tip-Off Classic and WBHOF Induction Weekend, as well as the location and participants in the State Farm Tip-Off Classic, will be announced at a later date.
McGraw becomes the first Notre Dame selection for the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame. The Fighting Irish skipper also becomes the third BIG EAST Conference coach chosen for the honor, joining Rutgers’ C. Vivian Stringer (2001) and Connecticut’s Geno Auriemma (2006) in that elite company. Newly-chosen Seton Hall head coach Anne Donovan also was a member of the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame inaugural class in 1999, going in primarily for her accomplishments as a player at Old Dominion.
McGraw also will be the ninth active college head coach to enter the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame on the basis of her success on the sidelines. Besides Stringer and Auriemma, the others on this notable list are: Pat Summitt (1999 – Tennessee), Van Chancellor (2001 – LSU), Tara VanDerveer (2002 – Stanford), Sylvia Hatchell (2004 – North Carolina), Andy Landers (2007 – Georgia) and Debbie Ryan (2008 – Virginia).
In order to be considered for selection for induction, an individual must meet the following prerequisites:
- Player – Must be retired from the highest level of play for at least five years.
- Coach – Must have coached the women’s game for at least 20 years.
- Referee – Must have officiated the women’s game for at least 10 years.
- Contributor – Must have significantly impacted the game of women’s basketball.
Having completed her 28th season as a collegiate head coach, and her 23rd year at Notre Dame back in March, McGraw has compiled a 613-244 (.715) overall record, including a 525-203 (.721) ledger with the Fighting Irish. She ranks among the top 20 active NCAA Division I coaches with her 613 career wins (reaching the 600-win milestone on Jan. 19, 2010, at Louisville in her 839th game, tying for 10th-fastest to 600 wins in Division I history) and her .715 all-time winning percentage.
However, that’s just the tip of the iceberg for the veteran Notre Dame head coach, whose list of accomplishments is on par with some of the greats in women’s college basketball history:
- Leading the Fighting Irish to the 2001 NCAA Championship, defeating Purdue in the title game, 68-66. McGraw is one of only eight active Division I coaches to guide her team to a national title.
- Two trips to the NCAA Final Four (1997 and 2001). McGraw is one of just 15 active Division I coaches to lead her team to multiple Final Four appearances.
- Eight NCAA Sweet 16 trips, all in the past 14 seasons (1997-2010). The Irish are one of only 10 programs in the nation that can make that claim.
- 20 seasons with 20-or-more victories, including 16 in the past 17 years (1993-2010). Notre Dame also has posted seven 25-win seasons and two 30-win campaigns in the past 14 years (1997-2010).
- 17 NCAA Tournament appearances, including a current string of 15 consecutive NCAA Tournament berths. During the present 15-year streak (1996-2010), Notre Dame has won at least one NCAA postseason game 13 times.
- 66 wins over ranked opponents, including 56 in the past 12 years alone (1998-2010). In addition, 20 of those wins have come against top-10 opponents.
- 197 appearances in the Associated Press Top 25 poll, putting McGraw 13th among active Division I coaches and 22nd all-time on that list (through the end of the 2009-10 season). Notre Dame also has spent 95 weeks ranked among the top 10 teams in the nation, all in the past 13 seasons (1997-2010).
- 12 top-four finishes in the BIG EAST Conference during Notre Dame’s 15 years in that league (1995-96 through 2009-10). The Irish also won a share of the 2001 BIG EAST regular-season title.
- 14 consecutive top-20 recruiting classes, dating back to the incoming class of 1997. Notre Dame is one of just three programs in the nation that currently owns a streak of that length.
- One of only four coaches in the 123-year history of Fighting Irish athletics to win 500 games at Notre Dame, tying for third all-time with fencing’s Yves Auriol (525-33 from 1986-2002) and standing behind only baseball coach Jake Kline (558-449-5 from 1934-75) and fencing skipper Michael DeCicco (680-45 from 1962-86).
- A perfect 100-percent graduation rate for all players entering the program since 1987 who have completed their athletic and academic eligibility at Notre Dame (a spotless 62-for-62 success rate).
Success for McGraw also has meant coaching great players. During her illustrious career, the Notre Dame skipper has coached 11 All-Americans, including 2001 consensus national player of the year Ruth Riley. She also has worked with five players who have been selected for USA Basketball National Teams, with those players going on to win a total of nine medals (led by Riley’s gold with the ’04 U.S. Olympic Team).
In addition, McGraw has coached 22 players who have earned all-conference recognition a total of 48 times, including 15 first-team picks who have been chosen a total of 27 times, and has helped shape several other national award winners, namely two Frances Pomeroy Naismith award recipients (Niele Ivey in 2001, Megan Duffy in 2006) and 2002 United States Basketball Writers Association (USBWA) National Freshman of the Year Jacqueline Batteast.
Another sign of McGraw’s success has been her ability to prepare her players for the next level. No less than 21 Notre Dame cagers have gone on to play professionally (domestically or overseas), including 10 who either have been drafted or signed as free agents with WNBA teams. The past decade has seen the greatest influx of Fighting Irish talent into the WNBA, with seven Notre Dame players having been selected in the league’s annual draft since 2001. Four of those players — Riley, Ivey, Kelley Siemon and Ericka Haney — were starters on the ’01 Irish NCAA championship team, and five of the recent Irish WNBA draftees (Riley, Ivey, Batteast, Duffy and Charel Allen) earned All-America status during their careers at Notre Dame.
Dedicated to help grow and further the sport in any way possible, McGraw has helped groom 10 of her former players and/or assistant coaches who currently are serving as coaches at either the high school or college level. In addition, five of her former assistants are presently Division I head coaches — 1988 Notre Dame graduate Sandy Botham (Wisconsin-Milwaukee), 1997 Notre Dame graduate and the school’s all-time leading scorer Beth (Morgan) Cunningham (Virginia Commonwealth), Bill Fennelly (Iowa State), Kevin McGuff (Xavier) and 1991 Notre Dame graduate Coquese Washington (Penn State). McGuff and Washington (along with current Notre Dame associate coach Carol Owens) comprised McGraw’s assistant coaching staff on the 2001 Fighting Irish NCAA national championship squad, while McGuff and Owens also were on staff for Notre Dame’s run to the 1997 NCAA Final Four.
McGraw received her bachelor’s degree in sociology from Saint Joseph’s University (Pa.) in 1977. Following graduation, she coached for two seasons at Philadelphia’s Archbishop Carroll High School where she guided her teams to a 50-3 record. McGraw then played point guard for one year with the California Dreams, a team in the since-folded Women’s Professional Basketball League (WBL). She returned to her alma mater in 1980, serving as an assistant coach under Jim Foster (now the head coach at Ohio State). Two years later, McGraw was named head coach at Lehigh University, her teams finishing 88-41 (.683) during her five-year tenure.
On a national level, McGraw has widely been regarded as a champion for student-athletes. In June 2002, she accepted an invitation from U.S. Secretary of Education Rod Paige to join the Commission on Opportunity in Athletics. Created 30 years after the passage of the landmark Title IX anti-discrimination law, the 15-member panel examined ways to strengthen enforcement and expand opportunities to ensure fairness for all college student-athletes. McGraw was the only women’s basketball coach on the Commission, which also included former U.S. National Soccer Team captain Julie Foudy and two-time Olympic gold medalist Donna DeVarona.
In the summer of 2004, McGraw served on Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) Special Committee on Recruiting and Access, which helped create numerous proposals to the NCAA that clarified and strengthened national recruiting guidelines. McGraw’s work on that committee led to her selection in 2005 as a member of the WBCA’s Board of Directors, serving as that body’s Division I legislative chair. Her tireless efforts to preserve and improve the status of college athletics were recognized by the WBCA in 2009, when she was chosen to receive the prestigious Carol Eckman Award, which goes annually to an active WBCA coach who exemplifies Eckman’s spirit, integrity and character through sportsmanship, commitment to the student-athlete, honesty, ethical behavior, courage and dedication to purpose.
A native of West Chester, Pa., McGraw remains one of the predominant women’s basketball figures ever to come from the Philadelphia metro area. In 1986, she was inducted into the SJU Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame, followed by her enshrinement into the Philadelphia Big Five Women’s Hall of Fame in 1989. In November 2002, McGraw’s alma mater came calling once again, inducting her into the SJU Athletics Hall of Fame. McGraw also was named an honorary alumna by the Notre Dame Alumni Association in 1997 and received an honorary monogram from the Notre Dame Monogram Club.
McGraw and her husband, Matt, will celebrate their 33rd wedding anniversary in 2010 and make their home in Granger, Ind. They are the proud parents of 20-year-old son Murphy, who recently completed his sophomore year at Indiana University.
— ND —