Excuse the McGuff’s if they’re a little excited about Notre Dame playing for the NCAA championship on Tuesday in Indiana. Both have strong ties to the Irish, mostly it being the school where Kevin McGuff and his wife Letitia met.
The couple traveled to Seattle on Monday so Kevin could be introduced as Washington’s new women’s basketball coach. After the 3 p.m. press conference, I’m sure they’ll be interested in the NCAA score as Notre Dame faces Texas A&M;.
The McGuffs were on staff as assistant coaches when the Irish last won an NCAA title in 2001. Letitia, formerly Bowen, played for Notre Dame from 1991-95. Her husband was beginning his college career as an assistant at Miami from 1993-96.
Family is the base of Kevin McGuff, who has four children under the age of eight and a fifth expected in July. Xavier star Ta’Shia Phillips made note of her coach’s parenting skills in a 2010 article.
“It’s kind of cute to see him interact with his kids,” Phillips told the Cincinnati Journal-News. “You don’t think of him as a soft, ooh-ooh type of guy. I think a lot of people would be surprised to know that he is a very hands-on father.”
McGuff will make a reunion of sorts in Seattle. A leader on Badin High School’s 1987-88 state championship team, he was coached for three years (CORRECTION) in college at St. Joseph’s (Ind.) by current Seattle University athletic director Bill Hogan. The latter departed McGuff’s senior season to become the AD at San Francisco, however.
As for Washington, McGuff said he hadn’t seen the team play this season but knows about the players. He plans to meet with all of the players this week and is awaiting word from Xavier about its open position before making decisions on a support staff.
“Their slate is clean,” said McGuff of the Huskies, which only loses one senior and feature five juniors. “What I experience from Tuesday forward is what my perception will be. I’m excited to get to know them and talk about expectations and how we’re going to do things. The team, from what I’ve heard, is a great group of young women and I think we’re going to have a lot of success quickly.”
McGuff is also interested in reviving the in-state rivalry among the four Division I programs in the state. According to multiple sources, former coach Tia Jackson dodged playing Gonzaga and there were conflicts with putting SU on the schedule.
Next season’s nonconference schedule is nearly complete and the new Pac-12 look could limit the number of games available to slot, but McGuff said he believes in an aggressive nonconference lineup.
“Aggressive scheduling served us really well at Xavier,” said McGuff, who lost to Stanford 89-52 this season and 55-53 in the NCAA Elite Eight in 2010. “If you look at a Stanford, they’ll schedule anybody in the country. That has played a part in them becoming who they are.
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