An icon ends her tenure
When Muffet McGraw joined the Notre Dame family as head coach in May 1987, then-athletic director Gene Corrigan said “If we searched for an entire year. I don’t think we would find anyone better suited for our program.”
The Irish didn’t need to search for anyone else as head coach over more than three decades and more than 900 victories that followed, all of which makes McGraw’s announcement Wednesday that she’ll be stepping down as Notre Dame head coach so surreal.
McGraw won two national titles at Notre Dame, reached nine Final Fours and changed the lives of hundreds of young women for the better.
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To consider the impact from a purely basketball perspective, understand that for McGraw, success at Notre Dame was a given, like the ticking of a clock. Every season between 1995-96 and this past one, the Irish made the NCAA Tournament. Players from every generation under McGraw made it to the WNBA, including all five starters from her remarkable teams in 2018 and 2019 that made the title game both seasons, winning the first and narrowly losing the second.
And McGraw, as her tenure wound down, found her voice more forcefully with each passing year, expressing without reservation the way she wanted to change the gender makeup of the young assistant coaches she spent generations grooming.
She got flak for it. She didn’t back down.
Her replacement in the job is her longtime assistant, who left last year for a brief sojourn in the NBA, Niele Ivey.
But there’s no replacing Muffet McGraw. Not now, not ever.
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