She’s back! Kim Mulkey returning to La. to take over at LSU

(Kim Mulkey photo courtesy of Baylor Athletics)

By T. Scott Boatright

In news that seismically shook the college basketball world on Sunday, LSU announced that it has hired Baylor University’s Kim Mulkey to take over its women’s basketball program.

LSU plans to introduce Mulkey as its new head coach today.

Mulkey is no stranger to Louisiana, or Ruston for that matter. She’s more like a household name.

She was raised in Tickfaw and starred at Hammond High School, where she helped lead that program to four consecutive state titles before graduating as valedictorian and moving on to play for Louisiana Tech.

The Lady Techsters won the AIAW championship in her freshman year and the inaugural NCAA Tournament a year later, going 130-6 in four seasons on the court for Tech.

She later served as an assistant coach to Leon Barmore at Tech for 15 years, beginning as an assistant before becoming associate head coach. The Lady Techsters went 403-63 with Mulkey helping Barmore lead the charge, winning another national championship and reaching the NCAA Women’s Final Four seven times

But failing to reach a contract agreement with Tech to replace Barmore upon his retirement, Mulkey looked to Baylor and took over that program in 2000. Baylor had previously been coached by Sonja Hogg, who shared head coaching duties with Barmore during Mulkey’s playing career as a Lady Techster.

Under Mulkey’s leadership the Lady Bears qualified for the NCAA Tournament every year, not counting last season that was cut short by the COVID-19 pandemic, and won three national titles.

Mulkey compiled a 632-104 coaching record at Baylor and her .859 career win percentage ranks third in women’s Division I coaching history behind only Geno Auriemma and Barmore.

“Kim Mulkey is a champion and a Hall of Famer, and we are thrilled to welcome her home,” LSU athletics director Scott Woodward said in a statement. “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. We look forward to working with her as she instills that championship culture at LSU.”

Baylor athletics director Mack B. Rhoades also released a statement on the news.

“We are grateful for the more than two decades Kim Mulkey poured into building Baylor women’s basketball to one of the nation’s premier programs,” Rhoades wrote. “Coach Mulkey’s sustained success is one of the most remarkable runs in college basketball history, and her accomplishments are worthy of the Naismith Hall of Fame induction she’ll experience later this year.”

Mulkey takes over for Nikki Fargas, who stepped down on Saturday after 10 seasons at LSU.

Even ESPN college basketball analyst and former men’s college hoops head coach Dick Vitale took to Twitter Sunday in reaction to the announcement.

“A great get by LSU women’s basketball,” Vitale tweeted. “KIM MULKEY is clearly one of the greatest woman coaches of all time.”

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