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Re-Introducing: Niele Ivey

COLUMBUS, OH - MARCH 30: Associate head coach Niele Ivey of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish celebrates in the locker room after the semifinal game of the 2018 NCAA Photos via Getty Images Division I Women's Basketball Final Four at Nationwide Arena on March 30, 2018 in Columbus, Ohio. Notre Dame defeated Connecticut 91-89 to advance to the National Championship. (Photo by Justin Tafoya/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)

Well, that was fast.

Within minutes of Muffet McGraw’s retirement, Notre Dame had named her replacement: Niele Ivey is officially the new head coach of the Notre Dame women’s basketball team.

The name should ring a bell to fans of the Fighting Irish.

Ivey played for McGraw for five seasons, helping the Irish win their first ever National Championship in 2001. She was just the 17th player in school history to record over 1,000 career points when she graduated.

After college, Ivey enjoyed a successful five-year WNBA career. She was hired as an assistant coach at her alma mater in 2007, and in 2016, she was promoted to associate head coach. Ivey remained at Notre Dame until this past season, when she took a role as an assistant coach with the Memphis Grizzlies of the NBA.

Ivey famously played a key role in the recruitment of then-high school phenom Skylar Diggins, whose arrival on campus helped propel Notre Dame’s resurgence as a basketball powerhouse. The school subsequently advanced to seven Final Fours in nine seasons after Diggins’ commitment.

The quick handoff from McGraw to Ivey was anything but accidental: reports are now out that McGraw began honing in on Ivey as her replacement more than two years ago. Following her retirement announcement, Notre Dame immediately posted a video outlining McGraw’s case for her successor:

Diggins herself took to twitter to voice her approval of Ivey’s hiring:

And earlier in March, Diggins posted a video showing Ivey in action during her time as a Notre Dame assistant in 2012:

Now, just days into her tenure as head coach, Ivey has already snagged another top recruit. Olivia Miles, the No. 2 ranked high school player in the country, announced on Friday that she would sign with Notre Dame. The Irish now have four of the nation’s top 50 recruits signed to their incoming freshman class.

After a down year this past season, Ivey has the Irish poised for a quick turnaround in her first season as a head coach.