Debuted each year at the OSCARS - the year-end highlight video provides a look back at all 26 varsity sports competed at the University of Notre Dame and is created in cooperation with the Student Welfare and Development Office and LeSea Broadcasting.
Head coach Muffet McGraw and the Irish players discuss the Elite Eight matchup with Duke.
Entering 27th season at Notre Dame in 2013-14: 626-217 (.743) 32nd season overall: 714-258 (.735)
"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 director of athletics 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 26 seasons:
The 2001 NCAA national championship, defeating Purdue in the title game, 68-66. McGraw is one of only seven active Division I coaches to guide her team to a national title.
Three trips to the NCAA Division I national championship game, including two of the past three NCAA title contests (2011 and 2012). McGraw is one of just three active Division I coaches (and seven all-time) with at least three appearances in the NCAA national championship game.
Five trips to the NCAA Women's Final Four, including each of the past three seasons (1997, 2001, 2011, 2012, 2013). McGraw is one of just four active Division I coaches (and six all-time) to lead her team to five Women's Final Four appearances.
11 NCAA Sweet Sixteen trips, all in the past 17 seasons (1997-2013). The Fighting Irish are one of six programs in the nation that can make that claim.
Two-time consensus National Coach of the Year, sweeping the four major coaching honors (Associated Press, WBCA, Naismith Trophy and USBWA) in both 2001 and 2013. McGraw is just the second NCAA Division I coach ever to sweep the "Big Four" awards twice in her career.
Five-time conference Coach of the Year, most recently collecting her second BIG EAST Coach of the Year trophy in 2013. McGraw has earned top coaching honors in four different conferences during her career (the past three while at Notre Dame), having also garnered accolades in the East Coast (1983 - at Lehigh), North Star (1988), Midwestern Collegiate/Horizon League (1991) and BIG EAST (2001, 2013) conferences.
Ranks seventh among active NCAA Division I coaches with 714 career wins (reaching the 700-win milestone on Feb. 5, 2013, at Villanova in her 957th game, making her the eighth-fastest to 700 wins in Division I history) and 17th among active Division I coaches with a .735 all-time winning percentage.
Ranks seventh among active NCAA Division I coaches with 25 20-win seasons, including 23 seasons at Notre Dame with 20-or-more victories, as well as 19 in the past 20 years (1993-2013). Notre Dame also has posted 10 25-win seasons, five 30-win campaigns and two 35-win seasons in the past 17 years (1997-2013).
20 NCAA tournament appearances, including a current string of 18 consecutive NCAA tournament berths (the sixth-longest active run of consecutive appearances and eighth-longest streak at any time in NCAA tournament history). During this current streak (1996-2013), Notre Dame has won at least one NCAA postseason game 16 times.
98 wins over ranked opponents, including 84 in the past 15 seasons alone (1998-2013). In addition, 35 of those wins have come against top-10 opponents, including 13 against top-five teams and four against No. 1-ranked squads.
255 appearances in the Associated Press Top 25 poll (including an active school-record streak of 116 consecutive weeks in the AP poll). McGraw is ninth among active Division I coaches and 20th all-time in AP poll appearances (entering the 2013-14 season). Notre Dame also has spent 144 weeks ranked among the top 10 teams in the nation, all in the past 15 seasons (1997-2013).
Nine conference titles, including three BIG EAST Conference crowns (2001, 2012, 2013) during Notre Dame's 18 years in that league (1995-96 through 2012-13). The Fighting Irish, who ran the table in their final BIG EAST season with a 16-0 record in 2012-13, also placed among the top four in the BIG EAST 15 times in their 18-year conference membership.
Six conference tournament championships, including the program's first BIG EAST Championship crown in 2013.
17 consecutive top-20 recruiting classes, dating back to the incoming class of 1997 (and including the incoming class of 2013, ranked as high as No. 3 in the nation). Notre Dame is one of just three programs in the nation that owns an active streak of that length.
Ranks second on the all-time wins list (regardless of sport) in the 126-year history of Fighting Irish athletics, trailing only former men's/women's fencing coach Michael DeCicco (774-80 combined record from 1962-95).
Far and away the winningest basketball coach (men's or women's) in school history, with noted men's skipper Digger Phelps second on that list (393 wins).
A perfect 100-percent NCAA Graduation Success Rate (GSR) score in each of the past six years (2007-13). Notre Dame also is one of only four programs in the country to record a perfect GSR and play for the national title in the same season (something the Fighting Irish did in both 2010-11 and 2011-12).
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, an accomplishment now immortalized with a banner hanging in Purcell Pavilion.
Still, with all of those accomplishments in hand, McGraw has shown no signs of slowing down any time soon. In July 2012, the veteran head coach signed a landmark 10-year contract extension (believed to be among the longest contract agreements in NCAA women's basketball history) that will keep her patrolling the Fighting Irish sidelines through the 2021-22 campaign.
"For more than 25 years, Muffet has led our women's basketball program and represented this University with distinction," said Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., Notre Dame's president. "Her teams have excelled on the court and in the classroom, and I am absolutely delighted that she will continue to lead the Irish for many more years."
"We are thrilled to be able to enter into a decade-long agreement with Muffet, who is not only the face of Notre Dame women's basketball, but increasingly, the face of women's basketball, given all that she's accomplished," said University vice president and director of athletics Jack Swarbrick. "She's taken this program to a place where it's annually in the conversation for the national championship, which is the model all coaches want to follow. She's also playing an important role in the game nationally, and her peers recognize those contributions, as well as the quality of her program here at Notre Dame. Off the court, she has created a program that has a lasting community identification and a special connection between the University and the city of South Bend, which is one of those unique points of intersection that universities have to be careful to build and maintain, and she's done that for us in a really remarkable way."
Under McGraw's guidance, the past 18 seasons (1995-96 to 2012-13) have been the most successful in Notre Dame's history, reflecting the program's remarkable BIG EAST Conference era. During that time, the Fighting Irish compiled an impressive 466-137 (.773) record, including a sparkling 232-64 (.784) regular season mark in conference play, the second-best winning percentage in BIG EAST history.
Also during this near two-decade span, Notre Dame has averaged nearly 26 victories per year, with two 35-win seasons, five 30-win campaigns and 10 25-win seasons to its credit. What's more, the Fighting Irish have one NCAA national championship (2001), three NCAA title game appearances (2001, 2011, 2012), five NCAA Women's Final Four berths (1997, 2001, 2011, 2012, 2013) and 11 Sweet Sixteen showings since the 1995-96 season, which began the program's current run of 18 consecutive NCAA Championship appearances.
In 2012-13, McGraw and Notre Dame capped off an impressive three-year stretch (101-14 record) with not only the program's third consecutive trip to the NCAA Women's Final Four, but also a sweep of the BIG EAST regular season and tournament titles (the first team other than Connecticut in 20 years to pull off that feat). The Fighting Irish finished the 2012-13 campaign with a 35-2 record (including a school-record 30-game winning streak) and perfect 16-0 BIG EAST mark, made all the more remarkable by the fact that McGraw was able to guide Notre Dame throughout a seamless transition after losing three starters (and four seniors) from the previous year's NCAA national runner-up squad (a four-player contingent that included two All-Americans/WNBA first-round draft picks and accounted for 40 percent of the team's scoring and rebounding from that 2011-12 club).
Success for McGraw also has meant coaching great players. During her illustrious career, the Notre Dame skipper has coached 15 All-Americans, including 2001 consensus National Player of the Year Ruth Riley and four-time All-American (and two-time consensus first-team All-America choice) Skylar Diggins. McGraw also has worked with 14 players who have been selected for USA Basketball National Teams, with those players going on to win a total of 26 medals, including 12 golds.
In addition, McGraw has coached 27 players who have earned all-conference recognition a total of 55 times, including 20 first-team picks who have been chosen a total of 33 times, and has helped shape several other national award winners, namely a two-time Nancy Lieberman Award recipient (Diggins), two Frances Pomeroy Naismith award honorees (Niele Ivey in 2001, Megan Duffy in 2006) and two United States Basketball Writers Association (USBWA) National Freshman of the Year selections (Jacqueline Batteast in 2002 and Jewell Loyd in 2013).
Another sign of McGraw's success has been her ability to prepare her players for the next level. No less than 25 Notre Dame cagers have gone on to play professionally (domestically or overseas), including 12 who either have been drafted or signed as free agents with WNBA teams. The past 13 seasons have seen the greatest influx of Fighting Irish talent into the WNBA, with 10 Notre Dame players having been selected in the league's annual draft during that time, including the school's first two WNBA lottery picks (Devereaux Peters in 2012 to Minnesota; Diggins in 2013 to Tulsa, both with the No. 3 overall choice), making the Fighting Irish just the second program in the 17-year history of the WNBA Draft to produce lottery (top-four) selections in consecutive seasons.
McGraw's pupils also have thrived in the WNBA, with three winning league titles during their professional careers. Coquese Washington ('92) was the first to hoist the WNBA hardware with the Houston Comets in 2000, followed three years later by Riley with the Detroit Shock. Riley and Batteast are the most recent Notre Dame alums to win WNBA titles when they teamed up to help Detroit to its second crown in 2006, although Peters just missed earning a ring in 2013 when Minnesota reached the WNBA Finals before falling to the Indiana Fever in four games.
Dedicated to helping grow and further the sport in any way possible, McGraw has groomed 12 of her former players and/or assistant coaches who currently are serving on basketball staffs at either the high school or college level. Of those 12 proteges, four presently are Division I head coaches -- Bill Fennelly (Iowa State), Kevin McGuff (Ohio State), Jonathan Tsipis (George Washington) and Washington (Penn State). McGuff and Washington (along with current Fighting Irish associate head 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 Final Four (that team also included Ivey and Beth (Morgan) Cunningham, both of whom are currently on McGraw's staff).
A native of West Chester, Pa., McGraw earned her bachelor's degree in sociology from Saint Joseph's University (Pa.) in 1977. Following graduation, she coached for two seasons at Archbishop Carroll High School (50-3 record) in the Philadelphia suburb of Radnor, and two more at her alma mater as an assistant coach under Jim Foster (now the head coach at Chattanooga). In 1982, McGraw was named head coach at Lehigh University, her teams compiling a sharp 88-41 (.683) record during her five-year tenure.
McGraw and her husband, Matt, will celebrate their 36th wedding anniversary in 2013 and make their home in Granger, Ind. They are the proud parents of 23-year-old son Murphy, a 2012 Indiana University graduate.