Kim Mulkey has left Baylor as the women’s head basketball coach for the same role at LSU. Big-name coaches changing major programs isn’t that uncommon, but it’s definitely rare regarding this level of status. This would be like if Mike Krzyzewski left Duke. Some things just aren’t meant to last forever, however, especially when home is calling.
Kim Mulkey Moves from Baylor to LSU
Let’s get down to what everyone wants to know: the terms. Kim Mulkey, 58, has now become the second-highest-paid coach in women’s college basketball behind Connecticut’s Geno Auriemma. If she would have become the top moneymaker, UConn would have had to immediately empty their pockets. Mulkey’s package is $23.6 million over eight years.
To put this in perspective, Mukley will be making more than men’s head basketball coach Will Wade. She will also be the second-highest-paid coach on LSU’s athletic staff. Football coach Ed Orgeron makes $8.9 million per year.
LSU Director of Athletics Scott Woodward said, “Kim Mulkey is a champion and a Hall of Famer, and we are thrilled to welcome her home. Her accomplishments are unprecedented, her passion is unrivaled, and her commitment to winning in all aspects of life—in the classroom, on the court, and in the community—is unparalleled.”
Kim Mulkey is Home.
The national champion and Hall of Famer has been named the head coach of the Fighting Tigers!
— LSU Women’s Basketball (@LSUwbkb) April 25, 2021
“I can’t wait to eat some Ponchatoula strawberries,” Mulkey added. “I can’t wait to have some crawfish.”
Mulkey is a native of Tickfaw, Lousiana, which is 47 miles from Baton Rouge.
Kim Mulkey’s Legacy (So Far)
Mulkey is one of the most decorated college athletes and coaches of all time in any sport, men’s or women’s. She won an Olympic Gold Medal in 1984 and is the only person in college basketball history to win national championships as a head coach, assistant coach, and player. She also is a member of the 2020 Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Class.
Mulkey played at Louisiana Tech where she won two national championships in 1981 and 1982. She then was an assistant for the Lady Techsters, and helped the team reach seven final fours, and earned the 1988 NCAA title.
The bulk of her success was, of course, at Baylor. She won three national championships with the Lady Bears and was named National Coach of the Year eight times. Baylor’s title in 2005 was the first for any women’s sport at the university, and in 2012 she guided the Lady Bears to a 40-0 record.
Baylor’s President Linda A Livingston thanked the great coach, “On behalf of Baylor University, I want to extend our deepest appreciation to Coach Kim Mulkey for her incredible leadership. Her teams were a shining light for Baylor and a point of tremendous pride for all of us in the Baylor Family.
Thank you @KimMulkey. What a remarkable 21 years in Waco.
— Baylor Athletics (@BaylorAthletics) April 25, 2021
A classy and well-deserved response, but nothing beats home cooking.
New Beginnings Back Home
Mulkey explained, “I came back to my home state. If you have followed my career, I’ve said it numerous times: No matter where I go to coach, no matter where my career takes me, Louisiana is my home.”
However, it’s not just about returning home. Mulkey is taking over a good program. The Lady Tigers have made the Final Four five times, and have 26 overall tournament appearances. They haven’t made the field since 2018.
The SEC has always been a great conference for women’s basketball. Tennessee is a powerhouse especially when the great Pat Summit was a the helm, and has won eight national titles. South Carolina won the 2017 national championship and has been a perennial power the last decade. And since their 2011 national title, Texas A&M has reached the Sweet Sixteen five times in nine tournament appearances.
Titles are common, and LSU longs for one.
Mulkey told her players at her press conference, “I want you to see those banners behind you. Final Four, Final Four, Final Four, Final Four. Nowhere on there does it say National Champion. That’s what I came here to do.
LSU can expect to add another title to the school’s storied athletic history.
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