Notre Dame women’s basketball coach Muffet McGraw is retiring after 33 years with the Irish, the school announced Wednesday to the shock of the women’s basketball world. Former Irish player and longtime assistant/associate head coach Niele Ivey will return to South Bend as her replacement.
“It has been my great honor to represent the University of Notre Dame these past 33 years, but the time has come for me to step down as your head basketball coach,” McGraw, 64, said in a statement. “I want to thank Monk Malloy and Father Jenkins for giving me the opportunity to coach the game I love at a university I love. I have learned much about leadership from the many athletic directors with whom I have served, and in particular, I want to thank Jack Swarbrick for his unwavering support.”
McGraw leaves behind one of the most successful coaching legacies in collegiate sports, compiling 936 wins, ranking sixth among Division I coaches, as well as securing two national titles (2001 and 2018), nine Final Four appearances, 24 consecutive NCAA Tournament berths and 31 20-win seasons (11 of 30 wins). The accomplishments helped land McGraw in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2017, where she became the 13th woman to be inducted.
McGraw’s retirement comes following a disappointing season two years following its national championship and one removed from an appearance in the national title game. Between all five 2018-2019 starters departing for the WNBA and a slew of injuries and transfers, the Irish finished with a 13-18 record this season, 8-10 in the ACC.
After bowing out of the conference tournament in the first round, Notre Dame was on track to miss its first NCAA Tournament since 1995.