Niele Ivey: The First Black Female Notre Dame’s Head Coach in History

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After an outstanding professional career in the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA), Niele Ivey transitioned into coaching. She’s worked as an assistant coach for a number of teams. 

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Niele Ivey stepped up to the big job in 2020, when she was appointed the head coach of Notre Dame. In this article, we’ll give you an insight into her career.

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Niele Ivey’s Early Career

Niele is the only girl and the last born in her family. She grew up in St. Louis, Missouri, in a tough neighborhood. She knew she had to find a way out. She watched her four brothers play basketball and that’s how she found her passion. 

Niele stood out because of her ability to make long-range shots. It was through this that the coach of Coru Jesu Academy Gary Classcock spotted her. Ivey changed schools and took them to their first-ever championship.

The basketballer idolized Michael Jordan and wanted to attend the same college as him – the University of North Carolina. However, she went to Notre Dame. She played for the team, the Fighting Irish, and led them to their first championship.

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Professional Career

Niele Ivey: The First Black Female Notre Dame’s Head Coach in History
Niele Ivey directing a basketball game. Image Source: Instagram licensed under CC BY 2.0 

After her performances in high school and college, Niele Ivey was drafted into the WNBA by the Indiana Fever. She played for the team between 2001 and 2004. In 2005, Ivey moved to Phoenix Mercury and then Detroit Shock and afterwards retired. 

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Coaching Career

In 2005, Niele Ivey began coaching at Xavier Musketeers women’s team, where she worked as an administrative assistant. Two years later, she went back to her alma mater and, for the next 12 years, worked as an assistant coach. In 2018, she won the championship with Notre Dame.    

In 2019, Ivey joined Memphis Grizzlies and became the first female assistant coach of the team. She worked with them for a year and then landed her role at Notre Dame. This made her the first black head coach in the school’s history. Here’s what she told  5 On Your Side

“I don’t take anything for granted. I understand the importance of having young girls see me holding this role.”

Niele Ivey is opening the door for young girls who want to become coaches in the WNBA or NBA. With Notre Dam being her first professional coaching job, Ivey’s future remains bright for more opportunities.

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