March 1, 2001
NOTRE DAME, Ind. --- University of Notre Dame men's basketball coach Mike Brey and women's basketball coach Muffet McGraw are among the 20 finalists for the Naismith College Basketball Coach of the Year Awards. The winners of both Naismith Awards will be honored in Atlanta, Ga., on April 7, 2001.
In his first season at Notre Dame, Brey guided the Irish to the BIG EAST West Division title, the first league title for a Notre Dame men's basketball team since becoming a conference member in 1995-96. The divisional title secures Notre Dame a first-round in the upcoming AT&T BIG EAST Championship, March 7-10 at Madison Square Garden. The Irish, ranked 13th in both the Associated Press and ESPN/USA Today rankings, currently have a 19-7 overall record and 11-4 mark in BIG EAST play with one game remaining in the regular season. The 19 regular-season wins are the most by a Notre Dame team since the 1988-89 campaign.
McGraw, a Naismith coach-of-the-year finalist the past two seasons, also led her Irish team to its first BIG EAST regular-season crown as Notre Dame shared the title with defending national champion Connecticut. Her squad currently is 26-1 overall (the eighth straight 20-win season for thte Irish) and finished with a 15-1 mark in BIG EAST play. Notre Dame earned the No. 1 ranking for the first time in school history when the Irish defeated the Huskies 92-76 on Jan. 15 and spent four weeks ranked in the top spot during the season. A veteran of 19 years as a collegiate coach with 14 of those seasons coming at Notre Dame, McGraw earned her 300th win with the Irish and 400th career victory earlier this year.