April 1, 2017

Sunday Brunch: Program Building/Irish Women’s Hoops

By Leigh Torbin

GLENDALE, Ariz. – A sterling coaching resume that includes 853 wins, a national championship and three consensus national coach of the year honors received its ultimate capstone on Saturday as Notre Dame’s Karen and Kevin Keyes Family Head Women’s Basketball Coach Muffet McGraw was named as a member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame’s Class of 2017.

Compiling a career record of 853-227 (.771), McGraw is the sixth-winningest female coach in women’s basketball history and 10th overall. Her 765 wins at Notre Dame alone make her one of just four female coaches to win 750 games at the same school. She is the winningest single-sport coach in Notre Dame’s long and proud athletic history.

A 2011 inductee in the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame, McGraw’s tenure is highlighted by the 2001 national championship, seven Final Fours, 15 Sweet 16s and 24 NCAA Championship berths along with an active run of 22 in a row. Notre Dame’s run of five consecutive Final Four trips from 2011-15 ties for the second-longest streak in women’s college basketball history.

“Team awards are so important — that’s what we preach to our teams,” McGraw said during the announcement. “I don’t weigh that much, but if you look at all the people that have had to prop me up over the years, there’s been a lot of them. There are so many outstanding amazing women I’ve had to coach and the opportunity to get to know them. My assistant coaches have been phenomenal. Matt, my husband, and Murphy, my son, have been with me all the way. My family — I have so many people supporting me and helping me get to this moment that, for me, it’s still a team award. Every one of them has a little piece of this award.”

She is one of just six college coaches (men’s or women’s) to win 800 games, appear in seven Final Fours and five national championship games, standing among the elite ranks of Pat Summitt, Geno Auriemma, Dean Smith, Mike Krzyzewski and Roy Williams.

McGraw has won at least 20 games 29 times (tied for the sixth-most all-time), 27 of them in her 30 years at Notre Dame. She had guided the Irish to nine 30-win seasons and has cracked the 35-win plateau on four occasions.

The newly-minted Hall of Famer has claimed 12 regular-season conference championships and 10 conference tournament titles. In each of the past five years, Notre Dame has won both its conference regular season crown outright and its conference tournament title, the only team in the nation to do so.

McGraw is the first Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame inductee from the Irish women’s program and the seventh from the school overall. Among the six on the men’s side is former Notre Dame Director of Athletics Edward “Moose” Krause who elevated the women’s program to varsity status in 1977.

Hall of Fame induction weekend is September 7-8 in Springfield, Massachusetts, the city where Dr. James Naismith invented the game in 1891.


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.