Muffet McGraw today (April 1) became the seventh representative, and first woman, in Notre Dame basketball history to become a member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
The head coach of the Fighting Irish basketball program since 1987, McGraw is one of 11 people who will join the Class of 2017. Among her numerous exploits, she is one of six college coaches — men's or women's — to win 800 games, appear in seven Final Fours and five national championship games, and win a national title.
In that elite group are the late Pat Summitt (Tennessee) and current head coach Geno Auriemma (Connecticut) in the women’s game, and Dean Smith (North Carolina), Mike Krzyzewski (Army and now Duke) and Roy Williams (Kansas and now North Carolina) among the men. (UCLA’s John Wooden won 10 national titles, but his win total was 664 in 30 seasons at first Indiana State and then with Bruins.)
Posting a career record of 853-227 (.771), McGraw has the sixth-most wins ever among female coaches, and 10th overall in the college game. With 765 of those wins at Notre Dame (the most by a single-sport coach at the school), she is one of only four female coaches to win that amount at one school.
The first of McGraw's seven Final Four advancements occurred in 1997, and four years later in 2001 she directed Notre Dame to its lone NCAA basketball title in either the men’s or women’s game.
Notre Dame's run of five consecutive Final Four trips from 2011-15 ties for the second-longest streak in women's college basketball history and give her seven overall. Meanwhile, in each of the past five years, Notre Dame has won both the conference regular season crown outright and the conference tournament title (the Big East in 2013 and the ACC in 2014-17), the lone team in the nation to do so.
"Team awards are so important — that's what we preach to our teams," McGraw said during the announcement. "I don't weigh that much, but if you look at all the people that have had to prop me up over the years, there's been a lot of them. There are so many outstanding amazing women I've had to coach and the opportunity to get to know them.
“My assistant coaches have been phenomenal. Matt, my husband, and Murphy, my son, have been with me all the way. My family — I have so many people supporting me and helping me get to this moment that, for me, it's still a team award. Every one of them has a little piece of this award."
Among the six on the men's side in the Naismith Hall is former Notre Dame Director of Athletics Edward "Moose" Krause who elevated the women's program to varsity status in 1977 and was the second three-time All-American (1931-33), with Wooden the first. Prior to McGraw, the most recent Notre Dame representative to make the hall was 1973-76 player Adrian Dantley (2008), a two-time consensus All-American and later one of the top scorers in NBA annals.
Hall of Fame induction weekend is September 7-8 in Springfield, Massachusetts, the city where Dr. James Naismith invented the game in 1891.
Among the other 10 joining McGraw this year are current Kansas head coach Bill Self (2008 national champion), the late Chicago Bulls executive Jerry Krause, who helped pieced together the Bulls 1990s dynasty, former UConn star and current ESPN commentator Rebecca Lobo, and past NBA All-Stars Tracy McGrady and George McGinnis.
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