Feb. 12, 2016
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Muffet McGraw and the University of Notre Dame women’s basketball program have earned nearly every honor possible during her three decades under the Golden Dome. Now, Notre Dame’s Karen and Kevin Keyes Family Head Women’s Basketball Coach is just one step away from achieving basketball immortality.
McGraw is among 14 finalists in the Class of 2016 for induction into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Massachusetts, the Hall announced Friday during NBA All-Star Weekend festivities in Toronto, Ontario. The Fighting Irish coach has been a nominee for the Hall of Fame ballot the past four years (2013-16), with this marking the first time she has been named a finalist.
McGraw is one of four finalists selected by the Women’s Committee to appear on this year’s Hall of Fame ballot, joining former Texas Tech and WNBA star Sheryl Swoopes, former Granbury (Texas) High School girls’ basketball coach Leta Andrews, and the 1954-58 Wayland Baptist University women’s basketball teams. Swoopes and the WBU teams are in their first year as Hall of Fame nominees, let alone finalists, while Andrews joined eventual 2015 Hall of Fame selection Lisa Leslie as the finalists chosen by the Hall’s Women’s Committee last year.
Along with McGraw and her fellow Women’s Committee finalists, this year’s ballot also includes 10 finalists selected by the North American Committee: Lefty Driesell (former Maryland men’s basketball coach), Darrell Garretson (the late NBA referee), Robert Hughes (former Texas high school boys’ basketball coach), Allen Iverson (former NBA All-Star, primarily with Philadelphia 76ers), Tom Izzo (current Michigan State men’s basketball coach), Kevin Johnson (former NBA All-Star, primarily with Phoenix Suns), John McLendon (late men’s basketball coach at five colleges), Shaquille O’Neal (former NBA All-Star, primarily with Orlando Magic and Los Angeles Lakers), Bo Ryan (former Wisconsin men’s basketball coach) and Eddie Sutton (former men’s basketball coach at six colleges).
The Class of 2016 for the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame will be announced April 4 at a press conference in Houston, Texas, prior to the NCAA Division I men’s basketball championship game. A finalist needs 18 of 24 votes from the Hall’s Honors Committee for election, with this year’s enshrinement festivities scheduled for Sept. 8-10 in Springfield, Massachusetts.
McGraw already has been inducted into no fewer than five halls of fame during her legendary career, including her enshrinement in the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in 2011 and the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame (as its Silver Medal recipient) in 2014. Her alma mater, Saint Joseph’s University, placed her into the SJU Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in 1986 and the SJU Athletics Hall of Fame in 2002, while the Philadelphia Big Five Hall of Fame welcomed her as a member of its Class of 1990.
A native of West Chester, Pennsylvania, McGraw has blazed trails seldom seen in NCAA history. She has amassed a record of 810-263 (.755) in 34 seasons as a head coach, highlighted by a 722-222 (.765) mark in her 29th year at Notre Dame.
McGraw’s success with the Fighting Irish includes the 2001 NCAA championship, five national championship game appearances and seven trips to the NCAA Women’s Final Four. However, that’s only the tip of the iceberg, as McGraw has reached lofty heights during a career that very few others have approached, let alone duplicated:
- Leading Notre Dame to the 2001 national championship, defeating Purdue in the title game, 68-66. McGraw is one of seven active Division I coaches to guide her team to an NCAA title.
- Five trips to the NCAA Division I national championship game, including four of the past five NCAA title contests (2011, 2012, 2014 and 2015). McGraw is one of just two active Division I coaches (and four all-time) with at least five appearances in the NCAA national championship game – the other three Division I coaches (Tennessee’s Pat Summitt, UConn’s Geno Auriemma and Louisiana Tech’s Leon Barmore) all are enshrined in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
- Seven trips to the NCAA Women’s Final Four (1997, 2001, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015). McGraw is one of three active Division I coaches (and five all-time) to lead her team to seven Women’s Final Four appearances.
- One of five coaches (men’s or women’s basketball) in NCAA Division I history with 800 wins, seven Final Fours and five NCAA title games – others are Summitt, Auriemma, Duke men’s coach Mike Krzyzewski and the late North Carolina men’s coach Dean Smith, all of whom are enshrined in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
- 13 NCAA Sweet 16 trips, all in the past 19 seasons (1997-2015). The Fighting Irish are one of five teams in the nation to make that claim (and five to do so in the past six years).
- Three-time consensus National Coach of the Year, sweeping the four major coaching honors (Associated Press, Women’s Basketball Coaches Association, Naismith Award and United States Basketball Writers Association) in 2001, 2013 and 2014. McGraw is the only NCAA Division I coach to sweep the “Big Four” awards three times in her career.
- Six-time conference Coach of the Year, most recently collecting her first Atlantic Coast Conference Coach of the Year trophy in 2014. McGraw has earned her six coaching honors in five different conferences during her career (the past five awards while at Notre Dame), having also garnered accolades in the East Coast (1983 – at Lehigh), North Star (1988), Midwestern Collegiate/Horizon League (1991), BIG EAST (2001, 2013) and Atlantic Coast (2014) conferences.
- Ranks 10th all-time among NCAA Division I coaches (seventh among active coaches) with 810 career wins (through Feb. 12).
- Ranks 14th all-time among Division I coaches (12th among active coaches) with a .755 career winning percentage (through Feb. 12).
- Ranks eighth all-time among NCAA Division I coaches (tied for fifth among active coaches) with 28 20-win seasons, including 26 of her first 29 seasons at Notre Dame with 20-or-more victories, as well as 22 in the past 23 years (1993-2016). The Fighting Irish also have posted 12 25-win seasons, seven 30-win campaigns and four 35-win seasons in the past 18 years (1997-2015) under McGraw’s tutelage.
- Made 22 NCAA tournament appearances, including a current string of 20 consecutive NCAA tournament berths (the fifth-longest active run of consecutive appearances and seventh-longest streak at any time in NCAA tournament history). During this current streak (1996-2015), Notre Dame has won at least one NCAA postseason game 18 times.
- Won 10 conference regular-season titles, including the past four in a row outright in both the BIG EAST (2012, 2013) and ACC (2014, 2015). The Fighting Irish also ran the table twice in that span, going 16-0 in both the BIG EAST (2012-13) and ACC (2013-14), the latter being the first 16-0 record by an ACC school in 11 seasons. What’s more, under McGraw’s guidance, Notre Dame has placed among the top four in the final conference standings 25 times in her first 28 seasons at the Fighting Irish helm.
- Earned eight conference tournament championships, including each of the past three seasons as members of the BIG EAST (2013) and ACC (2014 & 2015).
- Collected 131 wins over ranked opponents, including 117 in the past 18 seasons (1998-99 through 2015-16). In addition, 52 of those wins have come against top-10 opponents, including 18 against top-five teams and four against No. 1-ranked squads.
- Made 308 appearances in the Associated Press Top 25 poll, including an active school-record streak of 169 consecutive weeks in the AP poll. McGraw is seventh among active Division I coaches and 14th all-time in AP poll appearances (through Feb. 8). Notre Dame also has spent 198 weeks all-time ranked among the top 10 teams in the nation, including 110 since 2010-11 (second-most this decade).
- Guided Notre Dame to the No. 1 ranking in the WBCA/USA Today coaches’ poll on Nov. 25 and Dec. 2, 2014, the first time the Fighting Irish were in the top spot since the final poll of Notre Dame’s 2001 NCAA national championship season. Notre Dame also became the first ACC team to earn the No. 1 ranking since March 12, 2007 (Duke).
- 20 consecutive top-20 recruiting classes, dating back to the incoming class of 1997 (and including the incoming class of 2016, ranked as high as No. 3 in the nation). Notre Dame is one of just three programs in the nation that owns an active streak of that length.
- Ranks second on the all-time wins list (regardless of sport) in the 128-year history of Fighting Irish athletics, trailing only the late Michael DeCicco (774-80 combined record with men’s/women’s fencing from 1962-95).
- A perfect NCAA Graduation Success Rate (GSR) score in seven of the past eight years (2007-15). In that time, Notre Dame is one of four programs in the country to record a perfect GSR score and go on to play for the national title later that same season (something the Fighting Irish did in 2010-11, 2011-12, 2013-14 and 2014-15).
McGraw and third-ranked Notre Dame (23-1, 11-0 ACC) will return to action at 1 p.m. (ET) Sunday, playing host to No. 19/17 Miami at Purcell Pavilion. The game will be televised live on the ACC-Regional Sports Networks, as well as ESPN3 and WatchESPN, and it can be heard on the radio in South Bend on Pulse FM (96.9/92.1) as well as free of charge around the globe through the official Fighting Irish athletics multimedia platform, WatchND (watchnd.tv) and the WatchND app.
For more information on the Notre Dame women’s basketball program, visit the main women’s basketball page on the University’s official athletics web site (UND.com/ndwbb), sign up to follow the Fighting Irish women’s basketball Twitter and Instagram pages (@ndwbb), like the program on Facebook or register for the Irish ALERT text-messaging system through the “Fan Center” pulldown menu on the front page at UND.com.
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Chris Masters, associate athletics communications director at the University of Notre Dame, has been part of the Fighting Irish athletics communications team since 2001 and coordinates all media efforts for the Notre Dame women’s basketball and women’s golf programs. A native of San Francisco, California, Masters is a 1996 graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University, earned his master’s degree from Kansas State University in 1998, and currently serves on the Board of Directors for the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA).