SOUTH BEND — First-year Notre Dame women’s basketball Niele Ivey has selected her coaching staff for the upcoming 2020-21 season.
Ivey became the Fighting Irish coach when Muffet McGraw announced her retirement after 33 seasons leading the program. McGraw led the Irish to a pair of national titles and 848 of her career 936 wins.
Ivey has already spent 17 years on the Notre Dame campus as both a player and assistant coach for McGraw.
Associate head coach Carol Owens and assistant coach Michaela Mabrey will be joined on the Irish sidelines by 1993 Notre Dame graduate Coquese Washington.
Washington was an Irish player from 1989-93 and helped the program reach its first NCAA Tournament in 1992. Washington was later an assistant coach under McGraw from 1999-2007 and tutored Ivey on the way to the program’s first national title in 2001.
“I am thrilled to announce that Washington has accepted the position of associate head coach,” Ivey said on the school’s web site. “It’s an absolute blessing to welcome Coquese back home to Notre Dame. Her experience as a former player and alum, WNBA champion and former head coach, plus her national championship coaching pedigree, provides me with incredible knowledge and wisdom. I am so excited to have her join my staff as we build this new era of Notre Dame women’s basketball.
“I am also thrilled to retain Owens and Mabrey. Carol has uniquely been a part of all nine of the program’s Final Four appearances and brings incredible leadership to the staff. Michaela’s energy, passion and winning mentality speaks volumes. I’m excited to have my staff in place and can’t wait to see what we can accomplish together.”
Washington returns to South Bend after a one-year stint as an associate head coach with the Oklahoma Sooners. Prior, she made a name for herself as the head coach at Penn State from 2007-19, amassing a 209-169 record and guiding the Lady Lions to four NCAA Tournament appearances and three Big Ten titles. Washington was the first female African-American head coach in Penn State history.
“Notre Dame has always held a special place in my heart,” Washington stated. “So much of who I am can be traced back to my time at Notre Dame both as a student and as a young professional. Being a part of our women’s basketball staff again is truly energizing. I would only leave a program like Oklahoma for one reason — to return home.”
During her playing career at Notre Dame, Washington dished out 554 assists (ranks seventh in program history) and made 307 steals (third).
Washington played six seasons in the WNBA and is one of five Irish to have won a WNBA title, achieving the feat with the Houston Comets in 2000.