Saint Joseph's (Pa.) '77
24 seasons at Notre Dame • 556-211 (.725)
29 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.
- 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.
- 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.