Ann McGraw is the head coach of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish women’s basketball team, but she more commonly goes by her nickname “Muffet” McGraw. She comes from a basketball background having been a four-year starter at her alma mater St. Joseph’s, and captained the 1976-77 team to a 23-5 record and a No. 3 ranking in the nation.
For the 5th consecutive season, McGraw has the Fighting Irish in the Final Four. Notre Dame has lost its last three appearances in the National Championship Game to Texas A&M (2011), Baylor (2012) and Connecticut (2014).
In an era that has seen remarkable coaches such as the University of Connecticut’s Geno Auriemma and Tennessee’s Pat Summit take home a combined 17 National Championships (nine for Auriemma and eight for Summit), McGraw’s name isn’t the first to pop up, but she’s been successful as any head coach could possibly be.
Here is what you need to know:
1. McGraw Has Become 1 of the Faces of Notre Dame Athletics
Along with Brian Kelly (football), and Mike Brey (men’s basketball), McGraw has become one of the most recognizable faces when it comes to Notre Dame Athletics.
McGraw and her husband, Matt, celebrated their 37th wedding anniversary in 2014, and they have a 24-year-old son, Murphy
What makes McGraw special is her ability of her basketball players to succeed both on the court and in the classroom:
Notre Dame has achieved a perfect 100-percent NCAA Graduation Success Rate (GSR) score in each of the past seven years (2007-14). In that time, Notre Dame is one of four programs in the country to record a perfect GSR and go on to play for the national title in the same season (something the Fighting Irish did in 2010-11, 2011-12 and 2013-14).
As of 2012, McGraw was making just under $1 million per season.
2. McGraw Is 12th on the All-time Women’s Basketball Coaches Wins List
McGraw’s career record is 787-261 (.751 winning percentage), which is good for 12th on the all-time wins list. She is one of only 22 coaches with 700 victories.
McGraw averages 23 wins per season, so at her current pace if she were to average 23 victories over the next five seasons, she would reach the 900-win plateau, something only seven other coaches have done (including Auriemma and Summit).
Her and Auriemma have developed a bit of a rivalry over the years:
3. Notre Dame Won the National Championship in 2001
She is one of only seven active Division I women’s basketball coaches to win a title. In 2001, Notre Dame finished the regular season 34-2, 15-1 in conference, and McGraw’s team defeated UConn in the Final Four and reached the National Championship Game. Notre Dame defeated Purdue 68-66 to capture the program’s only National Championship.
Under McGraw, Notre Dame has made 21 consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances — 17 times theyve won at least one game — and been to the Final Four seven times: 1997, 2001, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015.
4. McGraw Has Won Numerous Awards Through the Years as Notre Dame Head Coach
Of the most notable awards, McGraw has won the Naismith Coach of the Year twice (2001 and 2013) and the Associated Press Coach of the Year twice (2013 and 2014).
Here is a full list of the Awards McGraw has won in her career:
2001 Naismith Coach of the Year
2001 Russell Athletic/WBCA National Coach of the Year
2009 Carol Eckman Award
2011 Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame
2013 Naismith Women’s College Coach of the Year
2013 Associated Press Division I Women’s National Coach of the Year
2013 Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) Division I Coach of the Year
2014 espnW Coach of the Year
2014 Associated Press Division I Women’s National Coach of the Year
2014 USBWA Coach of the Year
2014 Russell Athletic/WBCA National Coach of the Year
5. McGraw Is Already a Hall of Famer