Syracuse, NY – Approximately 170 Christian Brothers Academy females in grades 7-12 had an opportunity to attend a question and answer discussion, “Girls Compete, Women Empower” with University of Notre Dame head women’s basketball coach Muffet McGrew, and a panel of alumni from CBA and Notre Dame.
“The purpose of the discussion was to empower young females to become confident and strong women,” Principal Matt Keough said. “At CBA, we strive to create an environment where female students are empowered to be the best versions of themselves and to support each other in that effort. Coach McGraw is an exceptional role model and advocate for gender equality.”
McGraw, a 2017 Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame inductee, has compiled an 853-227 record (.771) and is the sixth-winningest female coach in women’s basketball history and 10th overall. She has coached at the University of Notre Dame for 30 seasons, accumulating a 765-227 record there. McGraw, who is a three-time consensus National Coach of the Year, guided her 2001 team to the National Championship. She was in town to speak at the Notre Dame Alumni Club of Central New York annual fundraiser.
“This was a great opportunity for our students that would not have been feasible without the support of the Notre Dame Alumni Club of Central New York,” Keough said. “Fortunately, we were able to work with the club to arrange for Coach McGraw to visit CBA as well.”
Keough contacted CBA alumni, who currently attend Notre Dame along with graduates of the school, who have a CBA connection to serve on the panel. The panel consisted of Maire-Kate McGlynn ’13, a recent graduate of UND; current Notre Dame students Clare Pierret ’16 and Lauren Milac ’16 and Alison Croucher ’17, who will be attending UND next year. CBA parents Jenna MacLachlan and Ellen LaBerge, both received their law degrees from Notre Dame and faculty member Vicki Mannion, also a UND graduate, sat on the panel. Two other panel members, School Counselor Katie Brown and Evie Lopoo ‘15 were instrumental in founding a Girls Group at CBA that promotes female empowerment.
“The panel of participants is an extraordinary group of woman who all provide outstanding examples to our young female students,” Keough said.
Keough posed the opening question to the panel, “what do you look for in a role model?”
Said Pierret: “A strong woman role model to me is someone who leads by example all of the time.”
Said Milac: “Someone who paves the way for later success. She isn’t afraid of her differences and aspires to always achieve higher goals.”
Students asked a number of questions that both McGraw and the panel answered, including what the coach looks for when she recruits a basketball player to her Top 20 program.
“I’m looking first and foremost for someone who is tops in academics,” McGraw shared. “I look at how they are engaged during a game, what their chemistry is with other players on the team. I’m not looking for the top scorers, but more so leaders on the court, on the bench. Their facial expressions when a coach or ref yells at them, when they miss a shot or lose a game. I don’t care how many points you score. Are you a leader? Are you a team player? Those are all important to me.”
McGraw told the girls that playing sports teaches you everything you need to know in life. “Work ethic, collaboration, unselfishness, team work. That’s what it’s all about.”
“This is still a man’s world,” she added. “We have a long way to go. We need to unite, and embrace other women. If we take a seat at the table (in male dominated professions), we need to bring other women along.”