Notre Dame Women's Basketball Coach Muffet McGraw Switched from 9/11 Flight

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistSeptember 12, 2018

Notre Dame head coach Muffet McGraw responds to a question during a news conference for the women's NCAA Final Four college basketball tournament, Saturday, March 31, 2018, in Columbus, Ohio. Notre Dame faces Mississippi State in the national championship game on Sunday. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
Tony Dejak/Associated Press

Notre Dame women's basketball coach Muffet McGraw was originally scheduled to be on United Flight 175 as she traveled from Boston to Los Angeles on Sept. 11, 2001.

That was the second plane to crash into the World Trade Center in New York City on the day that will forever be remembered in American history.

McGraw opened up about the fateful day and her own involvement in an article by John Heisler of Notre Dame's official website, noting Notre Dame assistant coach Kevin McGuff convinced her to fly with him out of Providence instead that day.

"He said it would be much easier to fly out of Providence than Boston," she said. "I said, 'Yeah, but I can't go direct.' He somehow just convinced me, and I thought, 'Well, it's not that big a deal, I'll just go out of Providence.' 

"If it had been another assistant coach, they might have said, 'Fine, I'll drive you to Boston.' But he was kind of like, 'I'm not driving to Boston.' ... Thank God."

McGraw went on to say the "hardest" part of the day was connecting and communicating with her husband, Matt, who didn't know at the time she switched flights and thought she was on the plane in the immediate aftermath.

McGraw and McGuff were in Boston to recruit Nicole Wolff—who ultimately went to Connecticut—the day before. The two coaches met up with men's basketball coach Mike Brey at the airport by chance and rented a car to drive home when it was clear they weren't going to fly that day.

McGraw remains the head coach at Notre Dame and led the Fighting Irish to the national championship last season. She was also named Associated Press Coach of the Year in 2017-18.

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