Monday was a special day for the Notre Dame's women's basketball program as head coach Muffet McGraw was honored.
The back-to-back AP National Coach of the Year in women's college basketball was the 2014 recipient of the Colonel Jack Stephens Citizenship Award.
It's an award given out each year by the Michiana chapter of the Military Officers Association of America.
The board pointed out that Coach McGraw has spent 27 years of her life serving in the local community.
"She is a dynamic person, and I think she's going to be well deserving of the award," said David Woods, founding officer of the Michiana chapter of the Military Officers Association of America.
The award was started back in the 1990s. A couple other big names from the Notre Dame family have received the award, including Father Hesburgh and Ara Parseghian.
From the Military Officers Association of America:
Coach McGraw’s passion and service have created – in the words of Notre Dame director of athletics, Jack Swarbrick – “A special connection between the University and the city of South Bend.”
Among her many efforts, for more than 20 years, she has served local women and children victims of domestic abuse through her support of the YWCA of North Central Indiana’s annual “Run, Jane, Run” Women in Sports efforts.
She has served for 14 years as a spokeswoman for the childhood immunization program, “Shots For Tots”. In 2009, Coach McGraw created “The Pink Zone” initiative, Notre Dame Women’s Basketball program in support of Breast Cancer Awareness. In that first year, the Notre Dame “Pink Zone” raised over $35,000 -- more than any other university in the country. In the past five years, the program has raised over $700,000 for local agencies like River Bend Cancer Services and the Saint Joseph Regional Medical Center.
Coach McGraw also supports the community as a “regular” citizen, investing her personal time over the last 20 years delivering food and gifts to hundreds of families in need through Saint Vincent DePaul’s annual Christmas Basket Program. She sponsors book drives for local elementary schools, and is relied upon on by the Food Bank of Northern Indiana as a monthly donor.
When Michiana speaks, Coach McGraw not only listens, she takes action. It is upon this action that the Colonel Jack Stephens Citizenship Award is based.
In receiving the Colonel Jack Stephens Citizenship Award, Coach McGraw joins 17 distinguished Michiana alumni recognized for their legacy of service to our community, including Ara Parseghian (1997), Rev. Theodore M. Hesburgh, CSC (1998), Mayor Robert Beutter (2003) and Kathleen Malone Beeler (2012), among others.
Jack Stephens served in the Pacific during World War II. His last Army assignment was as professor of Military Science at Notre Dame. After his retirement, COL Stephens served as the assistant athletic director under Edward “Moose” Krouse. He and his wife, Almira Saussele Stephens, are buried at the University of Notre Dame.
Past Jack Stephens Awardees
1997 Ara Parseghian
1998 Rev. Theodore M. Hesburgh, CSC
1999 Lt. Gov. Joseph E. Kernan
2000 Judge Robert Miller, Sr.
2001 Dr. Roland Chamblee
2002 Sr. Maura Brannick
2003 Mayor Robert Beutter
2004 George Murat
2005 Richard “Digger” Phelps
2006 Captain Ed Friend
2007 Charles F. Lennon
2008 Congressman Joseph Donnelly
2009 Bill Moor
2010 Chuck Hurley
2011 Erv Derda
2012 Kathleen Malone Beeler
2013 Daniel Fitzpatrick