Blue and Gold Illustrated

June-July 2020

Blue & Gold Illustrated: America's Foremost Authority on Notre Dame Football

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18 JUNE/JULY 2020 BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED by those values. … My heart is full of gratitude. My love for Notre Dame is hard to capture in words." As an assistant, Ivey often played the "good cop" role, while McGraw brought the heat that wasn't always well received yet highly effective. As a first-time head coach, Ivey recog- nizes her role might be redefined. "She would always say that she is not the warm and fuzzies — that's why she had me," Ivey said of McGraw. Balancing that change as the new leader of the operation while also remaining true to who she is can be- come the tricky part. Ivey's love for McGraw was clear when, after going through a long list of thanks to peo- ple who helped make her dream job possible, she had to compose herself for about 15 seconds when she came to her mentor's name. "To Coach McGraw, I'm here be- cause of you," said Ivey, with her voice shaking. "You fostered my develop- ment and you instilled the confidence in me to prepare for this moment." Swarbrick reiterated that Ivey was the lone candidate for the job and had been clearly identified as the successor, not just because of her background at Notre Dame but also an insatiable "intellectual curiosity." "I'm not a big fan of coach-in-wait- ing designations, but in a sense she became a coach in waiting back when Muffet handed her the ball more than 20 years ago to lead the team at point guard," Swarbrick said. "… I'm not sure whether it was a question of if but merely a question of when." Through much of the past decade, Ivey had been reached out to for a number of head coaching opportuni- ties, but she remained at Notre Dame for at least two prime reasons. One was her affinity for the school that was thriving as a yearly national title contender while being highly popular in the community. Two was her son Jaden, the nation's No. 74-ranked basketball prospect by Rivals in 2020 who will be a fresh- man at Purdue later this year. Jaden sat beside her during the conference, donning his mother 's No. 33 jersey from the 2001 national title. A move by his mother elsewhere would have disrupted the stable environment she so wanted for him. "You are my why," she said while turning to Jaden and clasping his hand during her conference that in- troduced her as the new head coach. "You are the reason I am who I am." THE NBA & RECRUITING Because of a rare opportunity for a woman to coach/scout in the NBA presented to her by Memphis in Au- gust 2019, Ivey was able to spread her coaching wings in what Swarbrick referred to as a "perfect sabbatical." Meanwhile, Jaden transferred to bas- ketball powerhouse La Lumiere, a boarding school in LaPorte, Ind., that plays a national schedule. Under first-year coach Taylor Jen- kins, the Memphis Grizzlies were po- sitioned to be in the NBA playoffs had the season not been postponed (if not yet canceled), and Ivey's scouting and strategy for opposition earned high praise from guard Jaren Jackson Jr., the No. 4 pick from Michigan State in 2018. "She's about to go crazy at Notre Dame," Jackson said. "It's a great fit for her. She was always getting wins when it was her scout. She's unreal. I'm just really happy for her. Go Irish! That's probably the only time I'll say that, though." From a basketball standpoint, Ivey said she won't veer from the up- Will Assistants Remain In Place? When Blue & Gold Illustrated went to print May 12, there had not yet been any confirmation on whether former head coach Muffet McGraw's staff would remain in place. New head coach Niele Ivey worked with Carol Owens, who instructs post players and has coached at Notre Dame both from 1995-2005, as well as since 2010. Owens also was the head coach at her alma mater, Northern Illinois, from 2005-10. Beth Cunningham, who mentors the wings, was a two-time All-American at Notre Dame (as Beth Morgan) and has been at her alma mater since 2012, after a nine-year run as Virginia Commonwealth's head coach. Michaela Mabrey, who was coached by Ivey from 2012-16, was hired to replace her as an assistant last season. During Ivey's Zoom conference April 23 that introduced her as the new head coach, a question that was submitted in writing about her staff was not asked by the moderator. Later, in a one-on-one interview with local television station WSBT-TV, when Ivey was asked about the staff she said she would be working on that in the coming weeks. "I just have to make sure it's the right fit for me," Ivey said. — Lou Somogyi Ivey served as a coach/scout for the NBA's Memphis Grizzlies for the 2019-20 season, which Notre Dame vice president and director of athletics Jack Swarbrick referred to as a "perfect sabbatical." PHOTO COURTESY FIGHTING IRISH MEDIA

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