June 8, 2011
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Notre Dame head women’s basketball coach Muffet McGraw, the 2001 consensus national coach of the year and winner of nearly 650 games in her illustrious career, offically will be inducted into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame during a gala ceremony Saturday night at the Bijou Theatre in Knoxville, Tenn.
McGraw is one of six people — and the lone coach — named to the 2011 Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame Class. 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).
In addition, the legendary All-American Red Heads, one of the nation’s first women’s basketball teams which barnstormed around the country from 1936-86, will be honored for their contributions to the game with a display at the Hall entitled “Trailblazers of the Game,” set to be unveiled during the 2011 Induction Weekend.
“This is going to be such a special weekend, and I’m happy to be able to share it with my family, friends and so many Notre Dame supporters that are making the trip to Knoxville,” McGraw said. “Basketball and coaching are my passions and there have been so many wonderful memories that I’ve collected in my time at Notre Dame, and earlier in my career at Lehigh and Saint Joseph’s, and all of those have been due to the hard work of so many incredible student-athletes and assistant coaches through the years. I’m especially grateful to those players and coaches — without them, and the tremendous support of our Notre Dame administration, this weekend wouldn’t be possible.”
McGraw’s busy weekend actually begins at 7 p.m. (ET) Thursday, as she is scheduled to be one of the featured speakers at the Universal Notre Dame (UND) Celebration hosted by the Notre Dame Club of Knoxville/East Tennessee. Tickets for the dinner (to be held at the Knoxville Holiday Inn on Cedar Bluff Road) are $40 per person, and $25 for Notre Dame students and alumni who have graduated since 2006, and they can be purchased by e-mailing ND Club members Russ Hand (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Lee Blank (email@example.com).
On Friday, a private welcome event for all of this year’s inductees will take place at the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in Knoxville. The event, which is by invitation only, will feature the unveiling of the display cases honoring each of the six members in the Hall of Fame Class of 2011, as well as the presentation of a diamond WBHOF pin and commemorative autographed basketball for the class members. In addition, veteran college basketball broadcaster Debbie Antonelli will host an informal storytelling session with this year’s inductees.
The majority of the Induction Weekend events will take place on Saturday, beginning at 8 a.m. (ET) with the 4Kay Run/Walk in memory of Women’s Basketball Hall of Famer and longtime North Carolina State University head coach Kay Yow, who lost her battle with breast cancer in January 2009. McGraw is scheduled to take part in this year’s 4Kay Run/Walk, which will begin at the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame building and is open to the public. Registration for the run can be found on the Hall’s official web site (www.wbhof.com), with all proceeds going to the Kay Yow Cancer Fund.
Following the 4Kay Run/Walk and its awards ceremony, each of the this year’s inductees will participate in a public autograph session in the north rotunda at the Hall of Fame, beginning at approximately 10 a.m. (ET).
The centerpiece of the weekend is the Induction Ceremony, scheduled for 7 p.m. (ET) Saturday at the Bijou Theater. The black-tie gala, also hosted by Antonelli, will feature speeches and video tributes honoring the Class of 2011, along with performances by the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra, the WBHOF Choir and soloist Evelyn Jack, who will perform the Hall’s official theme song, “The Dream.” A post-induction celebration and silent auction will follow the ceremony at 9 p.m. (ET) back at the Hall of Fame.
Tickets for the Induction Ceremony and post-event reception/silent auction may be purchased by going to the Hall’s official web site or by calling (865) 633-9000. The Hall also will maintain special visiting hours for the general public on Induction Weekend (all times Eastern) — 10 a.m-4 p.m. on Friday; 7 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday (free to the public); and 8 a.m.-2 p.m. Sunday.
McGraw is 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. 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 seventh 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), Tara VanDerveer (2002 – Stanford), Sylvia Hatchell (2004 – North Carolina) and Andy Landers (2007 – Georgia).
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 29th season as a collegiate head coach, and her 24th year at Notre Dame back in March, McGraw has compiled a 644-252 (.719) overall record, including a 556-211 (.725) ledger with the Fighting Irish. She ranks among the top 20 active NCAA Division I coaches with her 644 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 .719 all-time winning percentage.
However, that’s just the tip of the iceberg for the veteran Notre Dame head coach, whose list of accomplishments puts her among the greats in women’s college basketball history:
- The 2001 NCAA National 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 in the NCAA Division I national championship game, adding a berth in the 2011 final against Texas A&M. McGraw is one of just seven active Division I coaches (and 11 all-time) with multiple appearances in the NCAA national championship game — and one of only four active Division I coaches with multiple title-game berths AND a national championship to her credit.
- Three trips to the NCAA Women’s Final Four (1997, 2001 and 2011). McGraw is one of just nine active Division I coaches to lead her team to three Women’s Final Four appearances.
- Nine NCAA Sweet 16 trips, all in the past 15 seasons (1997-2011). The Fighting Irish are one of only eight programs in the nation that can make that claim.
- 21 seasons with 20-or-more victories, including 17 in the past 18 years (1993-2011). Notre Dame also has posted eight 25-win seasons and three 30-win campaigns in the past 15 years (1997-2011).
- 18 NCAA tournament appearances, including a current string of 16 consecutive NCAA tournament berths (the sixth-longest active run of consecutive appearances and 10th-longest streak at any time in NCAA tournament history). During this current streak (1996-2011), Notre Dame has won at least one NCAA postseason game 14 times.
- 74 wins over ranked opponents, including 63 in the past 13 seasons alone (1998-2011). In addition, 23 of those wins have come against top-10 opponents, including five against top-five teams and three against No. 1-ranked squads.
- 216 appearances in the Associated Press Top 25 poll (including an active school-record streak of 77 consecutive weeks in the AP poll). McGraw is 13th among active Division I coaches and 22nd all-time in terms of AP poll appearances (through final 2010-11 poll). Notre Dame also has spent 103 weeks ranked among the top 10 teams in the nation, all in the past 13 seasons (1997-2011).
- 13 top-four finishes in the BIG EAST Conference during Notre Dame’s first 16 years in that league (1995-96 through 2010-11). The Fighting Irish also won a share of the 2001 BIG EAST regular-season title.
- 15 consecutive top-20 recruiting classes, dating back to the incoming class of 1997 (and including the incoming class of 2011, ranked as high as No. 7 in the nation). Notre Dame is one of just three programs in the nation that owns an active streak of that length.
- One of only six coaches in the 125-year history of Fighting Irish athletics to win 500 games at Notre Dame, joining fencing’s Michael DeCicco and Yves Auriol, tennis/wrestling coach Tom Fallon and baseball’s Jake Kline and Paul Mainieri.
- Far and away the winningest basketball coach (men’s or women’s) in school history, with noted men’s skipper Richard “Digger” Phelps second on that list (393 wins).
- 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 64-for-64 success rate). The Fighting Irish have posted a perfect 100-percent NCAA Graduation Success Rate (GSR) score in each of the past four years, and they are one of only three programs in the country to combine a perfect GSR score with a trip to the NCAAÃƒÂ¢Ã¢’Â¬Ã‹â€ Sweet 16 three times within the past four seasons (2008, 2010, 2011).
Success for McGraw also has meant coaching great players. During her illustrious career, the Notre Dame skipper has coached 13 All-Americans, including 2001 consensus National Player of the Year Ruth Riley, and three Fighting Irish players who will return in 2011-12 — guards Skylar Diggins and Natalie Novosel, and forward Devereaux Peters. McGraw also has worked with five players who have been selected for USA Basketball National Teams — not counting Novosel and Peters, who join Diggins as finalists for the 2011 USA World University Games Team — with those players going on to win a total of nine medals (highlighted by Riley’s gold with the ’04 U.S. Olympic Team). In addition, McGraw has coached 24 players who have earned all-conference recognition a total of 51 times, including 18 first-team picks who have been chosen a total of 30 times, and has helped shape numerous 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 nine 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 Fighting Irish NCAA championship team, and five of the recent Fighting Irish WNBA draftees (Riley, Ivey, Batteast, Duffy and Charel Allen) earned All-America status during their careers at Notre Dame.
Dedicated to helping grow and further the sport in any way possible, McGraw has groomed 11 of her former players and/or assistant coaches who currently are serving as coaches at either the high school or college level. Of those 11 proteges, five presently are 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 (Washington) and 1991 Notre Dame graduate Coquese Washington (Penn State). McGuff and Washington (along with current Fighting Irish associate coach Carol Owens) comprised McGraw’s assistant coaching staff on Notre Dame’s 2001 NCAA national championship squad, while McGuff and Owens also were on staff for the Fighting Irish during their run to the 1997 NCAA Women’s Final Four.
A native of West Chester, Pa., 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 (50-3 record) and two more at her alma mater as an assistant coach under Jim Foster (now the head coach at Ohio State). In 1982, McGraw was named head coach at Lehigh University, her teams finishing 88-41 (.683) during her five-year tenure.
McGraw and her husband, Matt, will celebrate their 34th wedding anniversary in 2011 and make their home in Granger, Ind. They are the proud parents of 21-year-old son Murphy, who recently completed his junior year at Indiana University.
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— ND —