June 8, 2011
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - Notre Dame head women's basketball coach Muffet McGraw, the 2001 consensus national coach of the year and winner of nearly 650 games in her illustrious career, offically will be 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 in McGraw's Hall of Fame class 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's busy weekend actually begins at 7 p.m. (ET) Thursday, as she is scheduled to be one of the featured speakers at the Universal Notre Dame (UND) Celebration hosted by the Notre Dame Club of Knoxville/East Tennessee. Tickets for the dinner (to be held at the Knoxville Holiday Inn on Cedar Bluff Road) are $40 per person, and $25 for Notre Dame students and alumni who have graduated since 2006, and they can be purchased by e-mailing ND Club members Russ Hand (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Lee Blank (email@example.com).
On Friday, a private welcome event for all of this year's inductees will take place at the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame in Knoxville. The event, which is by invitation only, will feature the unveiling of the display cases honoring each of the six members in the Hall of Fame Class of 2011, as well as the presentation of a diamond WBHOF pin and commemorative autographed basketball for the class members. In addition, veteran college basketball broadcaster Debbie Antonelli will host an informal storytelling session with this year's inductees.
The majority of the Induction Weekend events will take place on Saturday, beginning at 8 a.m. (ET) with the 4Kay Run/Walk in memory of Women's Basketball Hall of Famer and longtime North Carolina State University head coach Kay Yow, who lost her battle with breast cancer in January 2009. McGraw is scheduled to take part in this year's 4Kay Run/Walk, which will begin at the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame building and is open to the public. Registration for the run can be found on the Hall's official web site (www.wbhof.com), with all proceeds going to the Kay Yow Cancer Fund.
Following the 4Kay Run/Walk and its awards ceremony, each of the this year's inductees will participate in a public autograph session in the north rotunda at the Hall of Fame, beginning at approximately 10 a.m. (ET).
The centerpiece of the weekend is the Induction Ceremony, scheduled for 7 p.m. (ET) Saturday at the Bijou Theater. The black-tie gala, also hosted by Antonelli, will feature speeches and video tributes honoring the Class of 2011, along with performances by the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra, the WBHOF Choir and soloist Evelyn Jack, who will perform the Hall's official theme song, "The Dream." A post-induction celebration and silent auction will follow the ceremony at 9 p.m. (ET) back at the Hall of Fame.
Tickets for the Induction Ceremony and post-event reception/silent auction may be purchased by going to the Hall's official web site or by calling (865) 633-9000. The Hall also will maintain special visiting hours for the general public on Induction Weekend (all times Eastern) -- 10 a.m-4 p.m. on Friday; 7 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday (free to the public); and 8 a.m.-2 p.m. Sunday.
McGraw is the first Notre Dame selection for the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame. The Fighting Irish skipper also becomes the third BIG EAST Conference coach chosen for the honor, joining Rutgers' C. Vivian Stringer (2001) and Connecticut's Geno Auriemma (2006) in that elite company. Seton Hall head coach Anne Donovan also was a member of the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame inaugural class in 1999, going in primarily for her accomplishments as a player at Old Dominion.
McGraw also will be 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:
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:
Success for McGraw also has meant coaching great players. During her illustrious career, the Notre Dame skipper has coached 13 All-Americans, including 2001 consensus National Player of the Year Ruth Riley, and three Fighting Irish players who will return in 2011-12 -- guards Skylar Diggins and Natalie Novosel, and forward Devereaux Peters. McGraw also has worked with five players who have been selected for USA Basketball National Teams -- not counting Novosel and Peters, who join Diggins as finalists for the 2011 USA World University Games Team -- with those players going on to win a total of nine medals (highlighted by Riley's gold with the '04 U.S. Olympic Team). In addition, McGraw has coached 24 players who have earned all-conference recognition a total of 51 times, including 18 first-team picks who have been chosen a total of 30 times, and has helped shape numerous other national award winners, namely two Frances Pomeroy Naismith award recipients (Niele Ivey in 2001, Megan Duffy in 2006) and 2002 United States Basketball Writers Association (USBWA) National Freshman of the Year Jacqueline Batteast.
Another sign of McGraw's success has been her ability to prepare her players for the next level. No less than 21 Notre Dame cagers have gone on to play professionally (domestically or overseas), including nine who either have been drafted or signed as free agents with WNBA teams. The past decade has seen the greatest influx of Fighting Irish talent into the WNBA, with seven Notre Dame players having been selected in the league's annual draft since 2001. Four of those players -- Riley, Ivey, Kelley Siemon and Ericka Haney -- were starters on the '01 Fighting Irish NCAA championship team, and five of the recent Fighting Irish WNBA draftees (Riley, Ivey, Batteast, Duffy and Charel Allen) earned All-America status during their careers at Notre Dame.
Dedicated to helping grow and further the sport in any way possible, McGraw has groomed 11 of her former players and/or assistant coaches who currently are serving as coaches at either the high school or college level. Of those 11 proteges, five presently are Division I head coaches -- 1988 Notre Dame graduate Sandy Botham (Wisconsin-Milwaukee), 1997 Notre Dame graduate and the school's all-time leading scorer Beth (Morgan) Cunningham (Virginia Commonwealth), Bill Fennelly (Iowa State), Kevin McGuff (Washington) and 1991 Notre Dame graduate Coquese Washington (Penn State). McGuff and Washington (along with current Fighting Irish associate 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 Women's Final Four.
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.
McGraw and her husband, Matt, will celebrate their 34th wedding anniversary in 2011 and make their home in Granger, Ind. They are the proud parents of 21-year-old son Murphy, who recently completed his junior year at Indiana University.
For more information on the Notre Dame women's basketball program, sign up to follow the Fighting Irish women's basketball Twitter pages (www.twitter.com/ndwbbsid or www.twitter.com/notredamewbb) or register for the Irish ALERT text-messaging system through the sidebar on the women's basketball page at UND.com.