Muffet McGraw discusses her decision to retire and her legacy at Notre Dame
“Notre Dame is such a special place and it is so close to my heart. And when jobs would open up around the country I was never interested in looking at anything else because I had the best job in the country. I feel like I am so lucky to be here," McGraw said.
Muffet McGraw was named the head coach of the Notre Dame women’s basketball team on May 18, 1987.
McGraw walks away, 33 years later, as a Hall of Fame coach and a champion for women all over the world.
How would she define her legacy?
“I want people to see that we’re more than just a football school now. We have a pretty good tradition and I think we have a great name in women’s basketball and I think we’ve built the program to that level and I think a lot of that is because of our fan base. People hate to play here. We wanted to be that place that nobody wanted to come to. And we were able to do that. And to be able to look back at the success that we’ve had is because of the players. I mean it’s all about the players, it always has been. We’ve had so many great ones and so many that I’m thankful for," McGraw said.
McGraw has coached some of the best to ever play the game - a Hall of Famer, Olympians, 22 All-Americans and 20 WNBA players. She took their talent and elevated it.
She has more than 900 career wins, 848 of them at Notre Dame.
She is a 3-time National Coach of the Year- leading the Irish to 24 consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances.
She ranks 5th all-time with 9 Final Four appearances.
Her Irish played for a National Championship 7 times and won it all twice- in 2001 and 2018.
MCGraw leads the charge to create one of the best rivalries in all of sports, Notre Dame vs UConn. Gino Auriemma vs Muffet McGraw-
The Irish have beaten the Huskies 9 times over the past decade. Five of those losses came in the NCAA Tournament.
UConn has only been beaten 11 times total by all other Division I teams combined.
“I’m really going to miss that. I’m going to miss that rivalry. I’m going to miss going and playing there. I’m going to miss everybody talking about the relationship that we had and for me, about standing up for women. I think sometimes you look at the way things are and men can get away with certain things and they can get away with how they talk to the officials and the players. So I think I’ve been the one person who could stand up and be on equal footing with him and acknowledge that and I think that’s something more women need to do," McGraw said.
McGraw retires as the winningest men’s or women’s basketball coach in Notre Dame history.
"I feel great about it right now. Of course, come October when practice is going on and I’m not there, I’m going to miss that whistle, I’m going to miss the team and the players and all that, but right now I’m not going to miss the game day stress and I hope to be in the stands cheering them on," McGraw said.
McGraw said she is wide open to many possibilities now that she is retired- from mentoring, to teaching at Notre Dame to traveling the world to speak on women's issues.
She also wants to remain an active member of NCAA coaching committees to help advance the sport of women's basketball.