10 years after national title win, McGraw family comes full circle

Matt, Muffet and then 10-year-old son Murphy after Notre Dame won the national championship in 2001.

Matt, Muffet and then 10-year-old son Murphy after Notre Dame won the national championship in 2001.

Ten years ago Friday, the Notre Dame women’s basketball team won its only national championship in school history.

"This moment tops anything I've ever experienced in my entire life,” coach Muffet McGraw belted out over a megaphone to a huge crowd that welcomed the Irish home from St. Louis back in 2001.

The Irish did the unthinkable that year -- culminating with a win over Purdue on April 1 to capture the National Championship. The run also included erasing a 16-point deficit to UConn in the Final Four two days earlier.

Even Muffet's then 10-year-old son Murphy couldn't believe that.

"It was… I don't know actually, it was a little scary,” Murphy said at the time with his face painted blue and gold. “I thought it would be a close game. Then we went on a 20-0 run and just won."

Ten years later, Murph's all grown up. He is now 20 years old and attending IU. Last Monday, he stood with his dad, Matt, in the stands just as he did 10 years earlier and watched his mom make it to the final four for the third time.

"It was so great to see Murph in his green sweater, matching his dad in the stands,” Muffet said after the win over Tennessee. “Just to have him here… it's just important to me that he was with us."

After Muffet cut down the nets, Murph and mom shared a special moment on the court as he tied the vinyl to her finger.

"Couldn’t be more proud,” Murphy said on the court after the game. “On the ten-year anniversary, especially, and it's going to be in Indianapolis. Nothing could be more perfect."

And Matt couldn't agree more.

"I couldn't be happier,” Matt said moments after the win. “This is the time of my life."

And of course, Matt and Muffet shared their special moment on the court, too.

“Matt is just so amazing,” Muffet said in the locker room Monday. “I couldn't do it without him. He does everything for me. He makes my job so much easier. He's my partner and we're just a great team together. I'm not crazy about the green hat. But he's just the best thing to ever happen to me.”

And even when he doesn't have to, Matt's there to point out the little bullet points to defending his wife after she beat Tennessee for the first in 17 personal tries.

"Just for the record, she's 1-and-0 against Tennessee this year,” Matt explained. “And she's never lost in a regional final."

Muffet’s Squad battles UConn in the Final Four Sunday night at 9:30 at Conseco Fieldhouse. The winner faces either Stanford or Texas A&M for the national championship Tuesday at 8:30.


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