Running late as always, I see Notre Dame women’s basketball coach Muffet McGraw through the window at Nick’s Patio on Ironwood in South Bend, sitting in her usual booth. Patience is admittedly not one of Muffet’s greatest virtues, but she lets it slide as I fumble my way into the seat.
Muffet and I met in 2004 when I began working as a sports reporter at FOX 28 in South Bend. Since then we have become friends and make it a priority to play golf together every summer. Our team even won the Run Jane Run golf tournament last year.
Our interview was originally scheduled to take place in her office, in a 15-minute window of time, but Muffet asked, “You want to get breakfast instead?”
I jumped at the chance.
Sipping her herbal tea, the Hall of Fame coach is somewhat unassuming. There are a few lingering glances and whispers here and there, but for the most part, one of the greatest college basketball coaches of all time is just another customer looking to enjoy her egg-white omelet.
At first, we catch up on the time that has passed since we last met. We talk about our children (her son Murphy is about to move in with his long-time girlfriend and Muffet couldn’t be happier). And we talk about working out, home improvement projects, my love life and even hairstyles.
Once the waitress clears our plates, we get down to business and I hit her with a big one right off the bat: “Do you see yourself as this icon that you’ve become?”
I thought she may need a moment to think about that question, but her reply is straight to the point.
“I see myself as a role model for women.”
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