Hall of Fame Basketball Coach Who Graduated from Shanahan Recalls Her Playing Days at the Dawn of Title IX

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Muffett O'Brien McGraw and teammates
Image via Steven Falk, Philadelphia Inquirer.
Members of the first women's varsity basketball team at St. Joseph's included (from left) Chrissy McGoldrick Zabel, Mary Sue Garrity Simon, Muffet O'Brien McGraw, Mary Maley, and Kathy Langley.

Basketball Hall of Famer Muffet McGraw, a Bishop Shanahan High School graduate, was a member of the first women’s varsity team at St. Joseph’s College (now University) at the time Title IX was becoming law, writes Mike Jensen for the Philadelphia Inquirer

In 1973, there was no recruiting or scholarships for women’s basketball. Instead, women who wanted to play would look for a gym to see if there was a game happening. As there was only one court at St. Joe’s, all men’s teams got to have their time before the women’s varsity team. 

“Sitting there waiting,” said McGraw. “Whenever they felt like finishing.” 

However, once they began winning games, the women’s team attracted local attention. The team went 9-2 in the 1974-75 season and followed the next year with an 18-3 record.

After four straight appearances in the national tournament, the school soon saw it had a program worthy of a little investment. The players received free sneakers for the first time, which they considered a milestone. 

After graduation, McGraw became a coach and won a pair of NCAA championships at Notre Dame.

Read more about Muffet McGraw in the Philadelphia Inquirer.

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