McGraw’s post at Notre Dame was enhanced on Feb. 16, 2015, when one of her former players, point guard Karen (Robinson) Keyes (’91) and her husband, Kevin, made a $5 million gift to their alma mater to endow its head women’s basketball coaching position, now known as the Karen and Kevin Keyes Family Head Women’s Basketball Coach. It’s also believed to be the largest endowment gift of its kind in NCAA women’s basketball history, as well as the first endowed coaching position of any sort in Notre Dame athletics history.
“Muffet is one of the most important influences in our lives,” Karen Keyes said. “We are proud to honor her, recognize her dedication to the University and continue to admire all of the successful women she has coached and developed over her entire career.”
33rd season at Notre Dame: 835-234 (.781)
38th season overall: 923-275 (.770)
“If we searched for an entire year. I don’t think we would find anyone better suited for our program.”
With those words, former Notre Dame director of athletics Gene Corrigan announced the hiring of Muffet McGraw as the third head coach of the Fighting Irish women’s basketball program on May 18, 1987. Ask anyone familiar with women’s basketball about Muffet McGraw and her Notre Dame program and inevitably, you’ll hear the same two words — consistency and excellence. And it’s no wonder, when you consider what McGraw and the Fighting Irish have achieved in the past 32 seasons:
• Inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in September of 2017 – became the 32nd woman ever to do so and 13th female coach. Was also inducted into the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame (2014) and the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame (2011).
• Two national championships. The first came in 2001, when the Irish defeated Purdue, 68-66. The second came exactly 17 years later to the date (both on Easter Sundays), when the Irish emerged with the 61-58 victory on Arike Ogunbowale’s buzzer beater over Mississippi State.
• Coach McGraw became the sixth different coach with multiple NCAA titles, joining Geno Auriemma, Pat Summitt, Linda Sharp, Tara VanDerveer and Kim Mulkey.
• Seven trips to the NCAA Division I national championship game, including six times in the past nine years (2011, 2012, 2014, 2015, 2018 and 2019) – no other program has been to more title games in the past decade. Furthermore, McGraw is one of just two active Division I coaches (and third all-time) with at least seven appearances in the NCAA national championship game. In addition, Notre Dame is the only ACC school ever to reach back-to-back national championship games.
• Nine trips to the NCAA Women’s Final Four (1997, 2001, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2018, 2019) — ranks fourth behind Auriemma, Summitt, VanDerveer.