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Women's Basketball

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Muffet McGraw (center) alongside Ellen Ryan and Saint Joseph's University President Dr. Mark C. Reed.
Courtesy: Sideline Photos, LLC
Former SJU Great McGraw Named 2017 Legends of Coaching Recipient
Courtesy: SJU Athletic Communications  
Release:  10/12/2016

LOS ANGELES – Former Saint Joseph's women's basketball great and current Notre Dame head coach Muffet McGraw will receive the John R. Wooden Award’s “Legends of Coaching” honor in 2017 it was announced on Tuesday at the Los Angeles Athletic Club’s annual Wooden Award Tip-Off Luncheon.

The “Legends of Coaching” honor recognizes coaches who exemplify Coach Wooden’s high standard of coaching success and personal integrity and was adopted by the Wooden Award Steering Committee in 1999. The honorees are selected based on character, success on the court, graduation rate of student-athletes in their basketball program, coaching philosophy, and identification with the goals of the John R. Wooden Award. McGraw will be recognized during the Wooden Award Weekend April 6-8, 2017, as a part of the Los Angeles Athletic Club’s celebration of the greatest players and coaches in college basketball. She will be awarded the honor at the Third Annual ESPN College Basketball Awards on April 7, 2017.

McGraw has 34 years of head coaching experience, including 29 years as the head coach of the University of Notre Dame women’s basketball program. She is a three-time National Coach of the Year and a seven-time conference Coach of the Year, most recently collecting her second ACC Coach of the Year trophy in 2016. Elected to the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in 2001, McGraw was one of 14 finalists for the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Class of 2016.

Winning a national championship in 2001, McGraw is one of seven active Division I coaches to guide her team to an NCAA title. She has led Notre Dame to the NCAA Division I national championship game five times, including four of the past five title games, and is one of two active Division I coaches with at least five appearances in the NCAA title game. She is one of three active Division I coaches to lead her team to seven Women’s Final Four appearances. McGraw is also one of five coaches (men’s or women’s basketball) with 800 wins, seven Final Fours and five NCAA title games.

"It's humbling to receive an award like this, particularly one which factors in Coach Wooden's collegiate ideals off the court as well as on the court. It really is a credit to all of the great student-athletes and assistant coaches I have been lucky enough to work with during my career. I am grateful for this honor and to be included with these legends of college coaching," McGraw said.

Success for McGraw has also meant coaching great student-athletes. Notre Dame has had a perfect 100-percent NCAA Graduation Success Rate (GSR) score in seven of the past eight years and is one of four programs to record a perfect GSR score and go on to play for the national title later that same season. During her illustrious career at Notre Dame, McGraw has coached 18 players that have earned All-American honors, including three Wooden Award All-Americans.

One of the founding members of Saint Joseph's women's basketball program, McGraw (nee O'Brien) guided the Hawks' offense from 1973-77 as they began play as a Division I team. Serving as team captain as a junior and a senior, McGraw averaged 7.9 points, 3.5 assists and 3.1 steals per game over her four-year career. During her four years on Hawk Hill, Saint Joseph's posted an astounding 60-11 record, finished third in Eastern Region of the AIAW Tournament in 1976, while placing second in Eastern Region in 1977 and eventually finishing sixth place at the national tournament.

John R. Wooden Award Legends of Coaching Honorees
2017       Muffet McGraw, Notre Dame
2016       Tubby Smith, Texas Tech
2015       Steve Fisher, San Diego State
2014       Tara VanDerveer, Stanford
2013       Bill Self, Kansas
2012       Geno Auriemma, Connecticut
2011       Tom Izzo, Michigan State
2010       Billy Donovan, Florida
2009       Rick Barnes, Texas
2008       Pat Summitt, Tennessee
2007       Gene Keady, Purdue
2006       Jim Boeheim, Syracuse
2005       Jim Calhoun, Connecticut
2004       Mike Montgomery, Stanford
2003       Roy Williams, Kansas
2002       Denny Crum, Louisville
2001       Lute Olson, Arizona
2000       Mike Krzyzewski, Duke
1999       Dean Smith, North Carolina

About the John R. Wooden Award
Created in 1976, the John R. Wooden Award is the most prestigious individual honor in college basketball. It is bestowed upon the nation’s best basketball player at an NCAA Division I university who has proven to his or her university that he or she is making progress towards graduation and maintaining a minimum cumulative 2.0 GPA. Previous winners include Larry Bird (’79), Michael Jordan (’84), Tim Duncan (’97), and last year’s recipients, Breanna Stewart of Connecticut and Buddy Hield of Oklahoma.

Since its inception, the John R. Wooden Award has contributed nearly one million dollars to the universities’ general scholarship fund in the names of the Wooden Award All-American recipients and has sent more than 1,000 underprivileged children to week-long college basketball camps. Additionally, the John R. Wooden Award partners with the Special Olympics Southern California (SOSC) each year to host the Wooden Award Special Olympics Southern California Basketball Tournament. The day-long tournament brings together Special Olympics athletes and Wooden Award All-Americans and coaches in attendance. It is hosted at the Los Angeles Athletic Club during the John R. Wooden Award Weekend.

The Legends of Coaching Award will be presented during the Third Annual ESPN College Basketball Awards presented by Wendy’s, which will take place on Friday, April 7, 2017. For up-to-date information on the Wooden Award, please go to www.woodenaward.com,www.facebook.com/woodenaward, and follow @WoodenAward on Twitter and Instagram.

For more information on the John R. Wooden Award, please contact Ernest Baskerville at (213) 630-5231 and woodenaward@laac.net or visit www.woodenaward..com

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