Ivey officially named ND coach

NOTRE DAME, Ind. — It was never about who would be the next Notre Dame women’s basketball coach. It was only a matter of when.

“When arrived Thursday afternoon when former Notre Dame point guard and assistant coach Niele Ivey was officially announced as the Fighting Irish head coach, one day after Muffet McGraw retired after 33 seasons at the helm of the Notre Dame program.

According to Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick during an online press conference officially announcing Ivey as the fourth head coach in women’s basketball history, the two talked about her replacing McGraw when the time came.

“We identified this as the likely succession plan, I would say, two years ago now,” Swarbrick said, “and as long as Niele remained interested and available, whenever Muffet made that decision, this was the path we were going to move in — subject to Niele agreeing, of course.”

Terms of her contract were not released.

“She was a good negotiator, let me say that,” Swarbrick said. “She didn’t make it easy; she made it fair.”

Ivey left Notre Dame last year to become an assistant coach with the National Basketball Association’s Memphis Grizzlies. She did not hesitate when Swarbrick called her “home.”

“Those are big heels to fill,” Ivey said. “When you follow a legend, it’s not easy. But I want to be myself. Always be true to myself, try to stay as authentic as I can.”

Ivey, 42, became emotional when she tried to explain just how much McGraw meant to her and what replacing the legendary coach means.

“I’m here because of you. You believed in me,” Ivey said, choking back tears. “You fostered my development and you instilled the confidence in me to prepare for this moment. You gave me my first opportunity, and there are no words to properly express the amount of love and admiration I have for you. I hope I make you proud.”

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