Muffet McGraw

Muffet McGraw

Head Coach
Saint Joseph's (Pa.) '77

27 seasons at Notre Dame • 556-211 (.725)
32 seasons overall • 644-252 (.719)


OVERVIEW: "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 athletics director 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. Corrigan may not have realized it at the time, but he also ushered in an era of unparalleled success in women's basketball at Notre Dame, brought to life on the shoulders of a 5-foot-6 dynamo who accepts nothing less than the very best from herself, her players and her program.

Ask anyone familiar with women's basketball about 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 24 seasons:

  • The 2001 NCAA 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.
  • Five trips to the NCAA Women's Final Four (1997, 2001, 2011, 2012, and 2013). McGraw is one of just nine active Division I coaches to lead her team to five Women's Final Four appearances.
  • Ten NCAA Sweet Sixteen trips, all in the past 17 seasons (1997-2012). 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 (1993-2012). Notre Dame also has posted eight 25-win seasons and three 30-win campaigns in the past 15 years (1997-2011).
  • 19 NCAA tournament appearances, including a current string of 17 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 (1996-2012), 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.
  • Ranks among the top 20 active NCAA Division I coaches with 644 career wins (reaching the 600-win milestone on Jan. 19, 2010, at Louisville in her 839th game, at the time tying for 10th-fastest to 600 wins in Division I history) and a .719 all-time winning percentage.
  • 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 62-for-62 success rate, not counting two more 2010-11 seniors who have exhausted their eligibility and are on pace to earn their diplomas in May 2011). 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 five programs in the country to combine a perfect GSR score with a trip to the NCAA Sweet 16 twice within the past three seasons (2008 and 2010).


Add it all up and you have the framework for a Hall of Fame career. And, on June 11, 2011, that's exactly what McGraw became, as she officially was the first Notre Dame representative to be inducted into the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame.

Still, with all of those accomplishments in hand, McGraw has shown no signs of slowing down any time soon. In July 2008, the veteran head coach signed a contract extension that will keep her patrolling the Irish sidelines through the 2014-15 campaign.

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FULL BIO: "For more than 20 years, Muffet has led our program with integrity and passion, and, of course, to much success," said Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., Notre Dame's president. "As we look forward to many more years together, I am confident that the excellence she has achieved on and off the court will continue."

Under McGraw's guidance, the past 18 seasons (1995-96 to 2012-13) have been the most successful in Notre Dame's history. Since joining the BIG EAST prior to that '95-96 season, the Fighting Irish have compiled an impressive 397-131 (.752) record, including a sparkling 201-63 (.761) regular-season mark in conference play, the second-best winning percentage in BIG EAST history. Notre Dame also has averaged nearly 25 victories per year during that span, with three 30-win seasons and eight 25-win campaigns to its credit. The Fighting Irish have won at least one NCAA Tournament game 14 times in the past 16 years, advancing to the Sweet 16 nine times (1997, 1998, 2000, 2001, 2003, 2004, 2008, 2010, 2011), the Final Four three times (1997, 2001 and 2011), the NCAA national championship twice (2001 and 2011) and winning the 2001 NCAA title.

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, 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 several 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 Irish NCAA championship team, and five of the recent 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 has completed his junior year at Indiana University.