ND’s Ivey national assistant coach of the year

Published 8:15 am Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Notre Dame”s Niele Ivey (left) has been named the national assistant coach of the year by the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association. (Leader file photo/AMELIO RODRIGUEZ)

Notre Dame”s Niele Ivey (left) has been named the national assistant coach of the year by the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association. (Leader file photo/AMELIO RODRIGUEZ)

NOTRE DAME — University of Notre Dame women’s basketball associate coach/recruiting coordinator Niele Ivey has been chosen as the inaugural recipient of the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) Division I Assistant Coach of the Year award, it was announced Friday by the WBCA.

The WBCA Assistant Coach of the Year award is presented to the recipient who demonstrates commitment to the program, to their student-athletes and head coach, their impact coaching on court, mentorship and impact on other coaches, as well as their professional manner and attitude.

“It’s an absolute honor to be recognized by my coaching colleagues for this award,” Ivey said. “I couldn’t even be considered if not for the opportunity given to me by my boss and mentor, Coach McGraw. I am so grateful to her for teaching me the game, believing in me and giving me the opportunity to coach at Notre Dame. I feel truly blessed and so appreciative for all the support from my family, friends and all the players I’ve worked with.”

“Niele is really a rising star, a rock star if you will, in the coaching profession,” said Muffet McGraw, Notre Dame’s Karen and Kevin Keyes Family Head Women’s Basketball Coach. “She does so many things for us, from recruiting to working with our guards, and every year she continues to grow and develop as a coach. She’s gotten more involved in adding new wrinkles to our offense and defense, and expanding her knowledge by going out and talking to other coaches about different aspects of the game.

“She’s gotten to be known as one of the best recruiters in the country, and certainly with our point guards, she does just a phenomenal job,” McGraw added. “She’s also another former player in our program who has went on to play professionally and now is showing our current players how to get there, and our players really respect her for that.”

Ivey is in her ninth season on the Fighting Irish coaching staff, having been promoted to associate coach last summer. A 2000 Notre Dame graduate, she has played an integral role on all seven Fighting Irish women’s basketball Final Four teams, the first two as a player and the past five as an assistant coach. During her nine seasons on McGraw’s staff, she has helped Notre Dame to a 283-43 (.868) record, along with nine conference championships (five regular-season conference titles and four league tournament crowns) and five Final Four appearances.

Ivey’s coaching success has extended to player development as well, with the former Notre Dame point guard tutoring the next generation of Fighting Irish backcourt greats, a roster that includes first-team All-Americans, WNBA first-round draft picks and USA Basketball Olympic Team finalists Skylar Diggins and Jewell Loyd, as well as current Notre Dame junior guard Lindsay Allen (Mitchellville, Md./St. John’s College), an honorable mention All-American, first-team all-ACC choice and two-time Nancy Lieberman Award finalist.

What’s more, Ivey has emerged as a rising star on the recruiting trail with a sharp eye for young up-and-coming talent. In fact, she has helped Notre Dame attract top-10 incoming classes the past seven years, with top-five groups during the past five seasons (incoming classes of 2012-16). Most recently, she played a leading role in the addition of next year’s historic freshman class that is the first ever to feature two different national high school players of the year in Gatorade National Player of the Year Erin Boley and Naismith Award selection Jackie Young.