No coach in the history of Notre Dame athletics is responsible for the prestige and continued success of a program more than Muffet McGraw.
Social media is full of idiots. On Friday, as I’m scrolling through my various feeds, I spotted one of those idiots in a Notre Dame fan group on Facebook.
We’ll call this idiot “Bill.”
On the day after the Notre Dame women’s basketball team suffered its third loss of the 2018-19 season — on the road against a Top 25 opponent — Bill decided it would be a good idea to formulate two stupid questions in his head, let those questions matriculate from his brain to his fingertips, and subsequently puke those questions onto the internet manually.
“Is it time for McGraw to retire? Has the game passed her by?”
Throughout life, we are always told that there are no stupid questions. Ol’ Bill tossed that idea out the window with one Facebook post.
I’ll answer both of Bill’s questions with three words: no and no.
It is my hope that Bill is some uninformed fan with a false sense of entitlement and an outlier. I hope that I can count people like him on one hand. But just in case I can’t, here goes…
Muffet McGraw is the greatest coach in the history of Notre Dame athletics.
I know, I know. I’m a football guy. I cover college football. I help decide who gets some of the sport’s most prestigious awards and who gets into the College Football Hall of Fame. I am quite familiar with the history and prestige of Notre Dame football and the resumes of its greatest coaches. I get it.
It doesn’t matter. McGraw is the greatest. Nobody as done it longer at a higher level in the history of Notre Dame athletics
Coaches like Rockne and Leahy were dominant forces in college football, but those were times when the competition, national focus and pressure are not anything close to what they are now. They are great coaches who are and will always be part of the lore of Notre Dame football.
Muffet McGraw built Notre Dame basketball. She built it in a time when the emphasis on participation in women’s sports has never been greater.
Before McGraw arrived on the Notre Dame campus, the women’s basketball program had played ten seasons of mediocre basketball under two head coaches. Those two coaches combined to win 62 percent of their games.
Since taking over in in 1987, McGraw has won 78 percent of the over 1,000 Notre Dame games she has coached.
The Irish have won 13 regular-season conference titles and 11 conference tournaments on her watch.
McGraw has led the Notre Dame women to 25 NCAA Tournament appearances, eight Final Fours and two National Championships.
Since taking over at Notre Dame, only two women’s baskeball coaches boast better resumes than McGraw: Pat Summit and Geno Auriemma — the two greatest women’s basketball coaches of all-time.
This is all stuff you can Google. I just don’t understand why so many don’t do that.
I get it. That’s all in the past, and that’s what Bill was asking about. Is the past the past, even if the last national title came last year?
Last I checked, the 2018-19 Notre Dame women’s basketball team featured the most recognizable name in the college game (Arike Ogunbowale) and one of the top WNBA draft prospects (Jackie Young).
Last I checked, Muffet McGraw just signed the top player in the nation (Samantha Brunelle). She’ll be on campus soon, ready to continue the great Notre Dame women’s basketball tradition that McGraw started.
Last I checked, the Irish just rebounded from Thursday’s loss with a 97-70 beatdown of the No. 24 team in the country today.
So no, Bill. It’s not time for the greatest coach in the history of Notre Dame athletics to retire, nor has the game passed her by. Only Muffet McGraw will decide when it’s time to retire, and I can assure you, it won’t because the game has passed her by.