Grizzlies Asst. Niele Ivey to Replace Muffet McGraw as Notre Dame Head Coach

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistApril 22, 2020

Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw, left, stands during the national anthem with assistant coach Niele Ivey before the team's college basketball game against DePaul in the second round of the NCAA women's tournament in South Bend, Ind., Sunday, March 22, 2015. (AP Photo/Joe Raymond)
Joe Raymond/Associated Press

The Notre Dame Fighting Irish found their new women's basketball coach.

According to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, Memphis Grizzlies assistant coach Niele Ivey will replace Muffet McGraw after the latter retired Wednesday following a legendary career. Wojnarowski noted Ivey spent 17 seasons as a player and assistant coach at Notre Dame before joining the Grizzlies last season.

McGraw released a statement announcing her retirement following 33 seasons:

Ivey will be tasked with replacing a legend.

McGraw led Notre Dame to two national championships (2001 and 2018), NCAA tournament runner-up finishes five times (2011, 2012, 2014, 2015 and 2019) and nine Final Four appearances.

She was also inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2017.

As if replacing a legend isn't difficult enough, Notre Dame struggled during the 2019-20 campaign with a 13-18 record after Jackie Young, Arike Ogunbowale, Brianna Turner, Jessica Shepard and Marina Mabrey departed for the WNBA.

Ivey has a history of success at Notre Dame, though, dating back to 2001, when she helped lead the team to a national championship as a player. She was also an assistant coach for the 2018 championship run and has been with the program as either a player (two) or coach (seven) for all nine of its Final Four appearances.

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"I am thrilled Niele will be the next leader of the Notre Dame basketball program," McGraw said, per Eric Hansen of the South Bend Tribune. "She's one of the best young coaches in the game today, and her success with the Grizzlies has helped make her even more prepared for her new role." 

Ivey became the ninth female coach in the NBA when the Grizzlies hired her as an assistant coach heading into the 2019-20 campaign.