Hall-of-famer Muffet McGraw retired after 33 seasons, but her legacy will stay in the Notre Dame family and live on through new head coach Niele Ivey. Ivey was a Notre Dame guard from 1997-2001 and later an assistant coach for 12 seasons under McGraw.

Ivey shared most of Notre Dame’s success with McGraw, witnessing both program’s national championships — one as a player in 2001 and the other as a coach in 2018. She left Notre Dame during the 2019-20 season to join the Memphis Grizzlies and became the ninth active female assistant coach in the NBA. Ivey tells NCAA.com that South Bend is home and the program has impacted her life more than any place, so it was a no-brainer to return.

“I feel like I’m honestly in a full-circle moment to be back here,” Ivey said. “It is a special place, and I pray that I could do half as well as coach McGraw, but not to try to be her. Just to honor her and continue to try to push this program forward.”

Ivey’s NCAA highlights: Niele Ivey’s college career at Notre Dame 

Ivey’s 18-year-old son Jaden was there to support her when she spoke her first words as a head coach to Fighting Irish fans. He sat by his mother’s side to hold her hand throughout the entire press conference. Ivey described it as the most amazing moment she’s ever had with him. Jaden was also wearing his mother’s championship jersey from 2001. It was his idea.  

“In the morning he was trying to figure out what he wanted to wear,” Ivey said. “Then he was like, can I borrow your jersey? And I’m like, absolutely, so I’m digging in the basement, trying to find it, found it, and then he just put it on. But I thought that was so special, because it just really represented his support for me and for the university.”

You can see how important this moment was to Ivey and her son when he reaches across to hold her hand when she starts to talk about what McGraw means to her. It starts at the 9:10 mark below.