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Muffet McGraw awarded Key to the City of South Bend at Common Council meeting

| Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Women’s basketball head coach Muffet McGraw was awarded a Key to the City of South Bend in a Common Council meeting Monday in the County-City Building downtown.

At the meeting, McGraw and the 2018-2019 women’s basketball team was recognized by a special resolution “honoring and thanking” the team for their “contributions to the South Bend community.”

Mary Steurer | The Observer

The women’s basketball team was recognized by the South Bend Common Council at a meeting Monday. At the meeting, the Mayor’s Office awarded head coach Muffet McGraw a Key to the City.

The resolution, presented by Common Council members Oliver Davis, Sharon McBride, Tim Scott and Karen White, named the Notre Dame women’s basketball team as among the nation’s “most visible and respected” athletic programs and praised its players and coaching staff for the program’s consistent success.

“Individual members of [the] team received far more accolades than can possibly be included in this resolution,” the resolution stated. “[And] the true meaning of the team’s greatness cannot be summarized in wins, losses and titles, but does also include academic success, class, dignity, toughness, determination and grace under pressure.”

It also commended McGraw for her moral voice off the field, expressing gratitude for her “valuable contributions … to the betterment of society at large.”

After the resolution was read aloud, McGraw was given the chance to speak, taking the opportunity to call for change of heart in the South Bend community.

Her speech follows two events last week that left the city fractured: the June 16 fatal police shooting of Eric Logan, an African-American man, by white city police officer Sgt. Ryan O’Neill, as well as a bar shooting Sunday morning that left one dead and 10 injured.

Tensions gripped South Bend this weekend as community members protested in front of the police headquarters Friday and urged Mayor Pete Buttigieg for sweeping reforms at a Town Hall meeting Sunday.

South Bend faces problems symptomatic of larger, deep-seated social issues that have become part of the national culture, McGraw said.

“I am so proud to be a part of this community — I love South Bend,” McGraw said. “But we have some issues, and I think South Bend is not immune to problems that every city across the country is facing. Racial inequality, gender inequality, homophobia — we are a nation divided. … When did we stop listening to each other? When did we stop having open and honest debate?”

The city will not be able to move past such issues without a combined effort from all of its members, McGraw said.

“It’s a Herculean task, to be honest,” she said. “But I would love to see South Bend be that city that everybody in the country can point to across the country and say, ‘This is how people live in community. This is what community is all about. This is how you solve our problems.’“

McGraw then called upon the community to take action in creating a more unified city.

“We can’t wait for people in Washington to step in and fix things,” she said. “They don’t want to fix things, they just want to tell us who’s to blame for it. We’ve got to stand up, and we’ve got to stand together, and we can do it. We can be that city.”

After McGraw’s speech, Buttigieg announced via video recording McGraw would be awarded a Key to the City.

“Coach Muffet McGraw has been an inspiration … to our community and to athletes, women and girls and boys and men across the country with the determination, the outstanding work ethic, the very … leadership that she has demonstrated over many years and continues to show with the extraordinary performance of Notre Dame’s women’s basketball,” Buttigieg said in the video.

Buttigieg also praised McGraw for her commitment to social progress, especially in the area of gender equality. McGraw drew national attention last April after calling for more female representation in national leadership at a Final Four pregame press conference in Tampa, Florida.

“Coach McGraw is a beacon — not only within the field of athletics, but truly a leader in our country — and I admire everything that she has done, and South Bend is proud to claim her as a member of our community,” Buttigieg said in the video.

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About Mary Steurer

Mary is a junior from St. Louis living in Howard Hall.

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