KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Notre Dame women’s basketball head coach Muffet McGraw, the 2001 consensus national coach of the year and winner of nearly 650 games in her illustrious career, was 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 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 is the first Notre Dame selection for the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame. She also becomes the third BIG EAST Conference coach chosen for the honor, joining Rutgers’ C. Vivian Stringer (2001), Connecticut’s Geno Auriemma (2006) and Seton Hall head coach Anne Donovan (1999).
McGraw is 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 NCAASweet 16 three times within the past four seasons (2008, 2010, 2011).
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.