Karen and Kevin Keyes Family Head Women's Basketball Coach
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.
• One of four coaches (men’s or women’s basketball) in NCAA Division I history with over 920 wins, nine Final Fours and multiple NCAA championships — others are Summitt, Auriemma and Duke men’s coach Mike Krzyzewski.
• 17 NCAA Sweet 16 trips, all in the past 23 seasons (1997-2019). The Fighting Irish are one of four schools to make last 10 Sweet 16’s (UConn, Stanford and Baylor). Irish have reached 10 Elite Eights, with Notre Dame and UConn being the only teams to reach the Elite Eight eight times in the past nine years. The Irish are also 9-1 in Elite Eight games, as their .900 winning percentage is the best of any program to play in at least five Elite Eights.
• Made 26 NCAA tournament appearances (tied for sixth all-time and fourth among active coaches), including a current string of 24 consecutive NCAA berths (the fourth-longest active run of consecutive appearances and fifth-longest streak at any time in NCAA tournament history).
• Her 67 NCAA Tournament wins rank fourth all-time and third among active coaches.
• Sixth all-time among NCAA Division I coaches (fourth among active coaches) with 923 career wins. Coach McGraw was the fourth fastest coach to 900 career wins behind Auriemma, Summitt and VanDerveer. She also ranks eighth all-time among Division I coaches (fifth among active coaches) with a .770 career winning percentage.
• Tied for fourth all-time among NCAA Division I coaches with 31, 20-win seasons, including 29 of her 32 seasons at Notre Dame, as well as 25 in the past 26 years (1993-2019). The Fighting Irish also have posted 16 25-win seasons, 11 30-win campaigns and six 35-win seasons in the past 22 years (1997-2019) under McGraw’s tutelage.
• Three-time consensus National Coach of the Year, sweeping the four major coaching honors (Associated Press, WBCA, Naismith Award and USBWA) in 2001, 2013 and 2014. McGraw is one-of-two NCAA Division I coaches to sweep the “Big Four” awards three times in her career.
• Was named the 2018 Associated Press, espnW and USA Today Coach of the Year, in addition to being named a Naismith Coach of the Year semifinalist.
• Seven-time conference Coach of the Year, most recently collecting her second ACC Coach of the Year trophy in 2016. McGraw has earned her seven coaching honors in five different conferences during her career (the past six 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, 2016) conferences.
• Won 16 conference regular-season titles, including the past eight in a row in both the BIG EAST (2012, 2013) and ACC (2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019). The eight straight is the second highest active streak in the country behind Baylor (9). Furthermore, the six straight ACC titles ties the all-time mark set by Virginia from 1991-96.
• The Fighting Irish have run the conference table three times in the above mentioned span, going 16-0 in both the BIG EAST (2013) and ACC (2014, 2016), the latter being the first 16-0 records by an ACC school since 2002-03.
• Earned 11 conference tournament championships, including six in the last seven seasons: BIG EAST (2013) and ACC (2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2019).
• Notre Dame became only the second ACC school ever to sweep the conference’s regular season and tournament titles in four straight seasons (2014-17), along with Duke (2001-04).
• The Irish are an impressive 90-5 against ACC opposition since joining the league for the 2013-14 season. Notre Dame is 48-0 inside Purcell Pavilion against ACC foes.
• Notre Dame is 403-59 all-time inside Purcell Pavilion under Coach McGraw, good for an .872 winning percentage. The Irish have sold out Purcell Pavilion 56 times and boasts a 46-10 record in those instances.
• Collected 171 wins over ranked opponents, including 100 over the last seven years. In addition, 66 of those 171 wins have come against top-10 opponents, including 24 against top-five teams and five against No. 1-ranked squads.
• Made 371 appearances in the Associated Press Top 25 poll, including an active school-record streak of 232 consecutive weeks in the AP poll. The 232 straight weeks ranks third best. Notre Dame has also spent 261 weeks all-time ranked among the top 10 teams in the nation, including each of the last 163 since 2010-11. The 163 straight ranks second.
• 20 consecutive top-20 recruiting classes from 1997-2016. Notre Dame was one of just three programs in the nation that owned an active streak of that length. Reeled in the No. 6 recruiting class in 2018 and No. 11 class in 2019.
• Defeated UConn five times in the NCAA Tournament, more than doubling the next team’s total on the list. Overall, over the last 11 years, Notre Dame has defeated UConn nine times, while all other Division I teams have combined for eight wins.
• Finished their 18-year BIG EAST tenure with the second-best winning percentage (232-64, .784) in that league’s history.
• Ranks first on the all-time wins list among single sport coaches in the 129-year history of Fighting Irish athletics.
• Earned a perfect 100-percent NCAA Graduation Success Rate (GSR) score from 2004-2014. In that time, Notre Dame was one of four programs in the country to record a perfect GSR 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).
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.”
Success for McGraw also has meant coaching great players. During her illustrious career, the Notre Dame skipper has coached:
• One Women’s Basketball Hall of Famer in Ruth Riley.
• Two National Players of the Year in Ruth Riley and Jewell Loyd. Two Frances Pomeroy Naismith award winners in Niele Ivey and Megan Duffy. Nancy Lieberman & Dawn Staley Award winner Skylar Diggins-Smith. Two National Freshman of the Year selections in Jacqueline Batteast in Loyd.
• Two different Olympians in Ruth Riley and Natalie Achonwa.
• Five different CoSIDA Academic All-Americans, including two CoSIDA Academic All-America Hall of Famers in Riley and Carol Lally.
• Six NCAA Tournament Regional Most Outstanding Players (combined for 10 honors) and 10 different Final Four All-Tournament Team honorees (combined for 13 honors).
• 22 players that went on to the WNBA, including 19 WNBA Draft pics in the past 19 years. The Irish made WNBA Draft history in 2019, when they had all five starters selected within the top-20, including two in the top-five. Jackie Young went No. 1 overall to the Las Vegas Aces, becoming the second Irish player to do so, following Jewell Loyd’s footsteps in 2015 when she was selected No. 1 overall by Seattle. The Irish pro surge first started back in 2012: Devereaux Peters in 2012 to Minnesota; Diggins-Smith in 2013 to Tulsa/now the Dallas Wings; Kayla McBride in 2014 to San Antonio now Las Vegas Aces, all with the No. 3 overall choice, before Loyd became the program’s first-ever No. 1 WNBA Draft pick in 2015 by Seattle. Said stretch made the Fighting Irish the only program in the history of the WNBA Draft to produce top-four lottery selections in four consecutive seasons. The above mentioned players have thrived in the WNBA, producing a combined six WNBA championships.
• 22 All-Americans, including 2001 consensus National Player of the Year Ruth Riley, 2015 espnW National Player of the Year Jewell Loyd and four-time All-American (and two-time consensus first-team All-America choice) Skylar Diggins.
• 22 players who have been selected for USA or Canada Basketball National Teams, with those players going on to win a total of 41 medals, including 26 golds.
• 35 different players who have earned all-conference recognition a total of 84 times, including 28 first-team picks who have been chosen a total of 54 times.
A native of West Chester, Pennsylvania, McGraw earned her bachelor’s degree in sociology from Saint Joseph’s University (Pa.) in 1977. McGraw and her husband, Matt, celebrated their 42nd wedding anniversary in 2019 and make their home in Granger, Indiana. They are the proud parents of 29-year-old son Murphy, a 2012 Indiana University graduate, who married Francesca Gardner in Paris (her hometown) in the spring of 2018.
McGraw Win Timeline
No. 1 — With Lehigh, vs Allentown, 11/22/82, W 68-44
No. 89 — First win at ND vs Loyola Chicago, 11/28/87, W 67-61
No. 100 — vs Marquette, 1/26/88, W 88-51
No. 200 — vs Loyola, 2/16/93, W 76-50
No. 300 — vs Alabama, 3/22/97, W 87-71, NCAA Regional Semifinal (Columbia, S.C.)
No. 301 — First berth to Final Four, 3/24/1997, W 62-52 George Washington
No. 393 — First win over UConn + First Sellout, 1/15/01, W 92-76
No. 400 — vs Miami, 2/20/01, W 81-43
No. 410 — 2001 National Championship win over Purdue, 4/1/01, W 68-66
No. 500 — vs Michigan, 11/18/05, W 55-45
No. 600 — at Louisville, 1/19/10, W 78-60
No. 700 — at Villanova, 2/5/13, W 59-52
No. 707 — Triple OT win over UConn for Big East Title, 3/4/13, W 96-87 (3OT)
No. 770 — Greatest comeback in program history, down 23 to Tennessee, 1/18/18, W 84-70
No. 800 — at Pittsburgh, 1/3/16, W 65-55
No. 888 — 2018 National Championship win over Mississippi State, 4/1/18, W, 61-58
No. 900 — vs Lehigh, 12/30/18, W 95-68