KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - When Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw learned last summer that she would be a part of the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame 2011 class of inductees, she knew the pressure was on for the Fighting Irish to have a good season.
"My biggest fear was that if we had a bad year, they would take it back," McGraw said with a smile on Friday.
Notre Dame reached the 2011 NCAA national championship game, losing to Texas A&M, and McGraw kept her place among the inductees, who are being honored this weekend at the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame in Knoxville. The others are Val Ackerman, the first president of the WNBA; Olympians Ruthie Bolton and Vicky Bullett; four-time all-American Pearl Moore; and former player Lometa Odom.
Over 24 seasons, McGraw has helped build Notre Dame into a nationally competitive program; she led the Fighting Irish to the 2001 national title. She has a 644-252 overall record, including a 556-211 mark with the Irish. This year, they beat rivals Tennessee and Connecticut en route to the national title game.
McGraw, 55, was raised in West Chester. A star player and assistant coach at St. Joseph's, she also coached at Lehigh University and Archbishop Carroll High School.
Still, she questioned whether she belonged in the ranks of fellow Hall of Fame members such as Volunteers coach Pat Summitt and Huskies coach Geno Auriemma.
"You always look up. You never look around you," she said. "You always look up, and you look at Pat and Geno. I never even considered it."