Guru's WBHOF Report: Notre Dame Getting Irish Up For Muffet McGraw
By Mel Greenberg
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – An Irish Brew got under way Thursday with the arrival of Notre Dame head women’s basketball coach Muffet McGraw, a former St. Joseph’s star in Philadelphia, who will be one of six inductees this weekend into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame.
Muffet's husband Matt, her son Murphy, and Angie Pothoff, who is associate director of operations & technology and is a former Penn State star, arrived with her.
McGraw spoke to the Notre Dame Club of Knoxville a few hours later. It is probably the only group in the area here to have enjoyment in March when the Irish upset Tennessee in the NCAA Dayton Regional Finals and then upset Big East rival Connecticut in the national semifinals in Indianapolis before losing in the title game to first-time winner Texas A&M at Conseco Fieldhouse.
Vicky Bullett, the former Maryland and WNBA Washington Mystics star, arrived with her family by car, while former Auburn and WNBA star Ruthie Bolton checked in Thursday night here at the Marriott, where the Guru is also headquartered.
Lometa Odom, who played for the Wayland Flying Queens out of Texas, also arrived while WNBA founding and past president Val Ackerman along with Pearl Moore are set to arrive Friday morning.
Friday night’s main events, most at the Hall of Fame, include an interview session with the media at 5 p.m., a private reception, followed by the storytelling session in which each the entourage of each inductee is also invited to participate telling either nice or outrageous tales about their inductee.
Broadcaster and former North Carolina State star Debbie Antonelli will emcee the storytelling session and then be joined by former Hall staffer Nan Elrod, who is on the board of directors, to host a trivia quiz in the lobby of the Marriott.
Antonelli hosts a similar trivia session at the Women’s Final Four.
Members of the famed Redheads traveling basketball team of yesteryear, who once won 96 straight games in 96 nights, are here to open a special new exhibit at the hall.
The Guru has learned that former Irish star Ruth Riley, who led the way to the 2001 NCAA title won by Notre Dame and plays for the WNBA San Antonio Silver Stars, will be the video presenter for McGraw at Saturday night’s induction ceremonies at the Bijou Theatre, one of several venues that has been the site of the inductions. The Guru was inducted in 2007 at the Tennessee Theatre across the street.
NBA commissioner David Stern and USABasketball Executive Director/CEO Jim Tooley will introduce Ackerman, whole former Maryland coach Chris Weller, who was inducted a year ago, will present Bullett.
If Tooley isn’t the co-presenter for Ackerman – the Guru was guessing off of being told it would be a high USA Basketball official -- it could be Jerry Colangelo, who is the chair of the board of directors.
Ackerman, now an ex officio, was the first female president of USA Basketball after she left the WNBA presidency, and served through the 2008 Gold Medal dual triumphs in Beijing, China.
Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer will present Ruthie Bolton, whom she coached in the 1996 Olympics. Former Auburn coach Joe Ciampi, a WBHOF past inductee, is expected to be here as part of Bolton’s entourage.
Read the WBHOF website for further details on the weekend. The Guru's next report will be Saturday morning though he will be tweeting @womhoopsguru along the way.
Here is part of the guest list for McGraw, whom Chris Masters, the media contact for the Irish women’s program, provided to the Guru, though more will also be coming, especially some of her former St. Joseph’s teammates and Hawks athletic director Don DiJulia.
Sandy Botham ('88; former ND player/assistant coach; now head coach at Wisconsin-Milwaukee)
Beth (Morgan) Cunningham ('97; former ND player/2-time All-American; school's all-time leading scorer with 2,322 points; now head coach at VCU)
Megan Duffy ('06; former ND player/All-American and '06 Frances Pomeroy Naismith Award recipient; 3-year WNBA vet with Lynx and Liberty; now assistant coach at St. John's)
Liz Feeley (played for Muffet at Lehigh from 1983-84 through 1986-87; served as assistant coach for Muffet in her first season at ND in 1987-88, alongside Bill Fennelly)
Niele Ivey ('00; former ND player/All-American and '01 Frances Pomeroy Naismith Award recipient; 5-year WNBA vet with Fever, Shock and Mercury; now assistant coach at ND)
Fran McCaffrey (former men's assistant coach at ND in mid-90s under John MacLeod, now head men's coach at Iowa; wife is Margaret Nowlin '92, former ND player)
Carol Owens (current ND associate coach, on ND staff for 11 seasons (1995-2005; 2010-present); former head coach at Northern Illinois from 2005-10)
Karen Robinson-Keys ('91; former ND player/All-American; still ranks 6th in school's all-time scoring list with 1,590 points; native of Turnersville, N.J., now living in Ridgewood)
Jeanine (Augustin) Scheffler ('97; former ND player and starting point guard on ND's 1997 Final Four team)
Kelley (Siemon) Deyo ('01; former ND player and member of 2001 NCAA national championship team)
Jonathan Tsipis (current ND associate head coach; member of ND staff for past eight seasons)
Coquese Washington ('91, JD '97; former ND player and assistant coach; currently head coach at Penn State)