The Fighting Irish entered the NCAA tournament at 32-0 and as a No. 1 seed. McGraw has Notre Dame back in the Final Four for a fourth consecutive season.
The 58-year-old McGraw was presented the award Saturday after receiving 17 votes from the same 36-member national media panel that selects the weekly Top 25. The voting was done before the NCAA tournament.
McGraw became the second coach to win the award in consecutive seasons, joining Connecticut's Geno Auriemma. West Virginia's Mike Carey was second with eight votes. Auriemma was third and South Carolina's Dawn Staley was fourth.
McGraw also was honored with the award in 2001. She didn't know until she got on the team bus to head to the arena that the Irish would be coming to watch the ceremony.
''She has been the consistent piece at Notre Dame,'' senior guard Kayla McBride said, ''and is a big reason why we are where we are.''
Even McGraw, who is in her 27th season at the school, was surprised at the success her team has had this season. Joining a new conference and graduating Skylar Diggins left a few questions for Notre Dame. With McGraw at the helm, they answered every one of them.
''Going undefeated was not on the top of our goals for the season with what we lost,'' McGraw said. ''We had a lot of good pieces back, but we lost Skylar. It wasn't until we had the road wins over Tennessee, Maryland and Duke that I thought, wow we could have something really special here.''