By Krista Pirtle
McGregor freshman Makenzie Robertson is able to go home when she pleases and sleep in her own bed, grab a meal more appetizing than she can find on campus and have her mom, the national coach of the year, do her laundry.
“It’s not that big a difference,” Robertson said.
Robertson, a standout basketball player at Midway High School, a 15-minute drive from Baylor campus, has always wanted to play for her mom, who was named the U.S. Basketball Writers Association 2010-11 coach of the year in women’s collegiate basketball. For some people, that means having Mom coach a youth league team; for Robertson, that meant her college basketball career.
“I didn’t even go on any official visits anywhere else because I didn’t want to waste anyone’s time because I knew I wanted to play for my mom,” Robertson said.
Robertson looked nowhere else other than Baylor; while Rice and SMU pursued her, she showed no interest. Other schools knew not to offer because it was obvious Robertson would follow in her mom’s footsteps.
Once she signed with Baylor, questions circulated as to how Mulkey would treat her daughter on the hardwood.
“I’ve never coached either of my children in any sports, and I’ve always been, I don’t want to say leery, but I always wondered what it would be like [and] if it would be difficult to take the emotions out of it. And it was very easy to do,” women’s basketball head coach Kim Mulkey said. “I had no problem.”
It was strictly a business relationship on the court as Mulkey showed no favoritism and gave her daughter the same constructive criticism she gives all her players.
When asked what she calls her mom on the court, Robertson grinned.
“I don’t even know if I ever even said anything,” Robertson said. “I think I just raised my hand and started talking or went to another coach because I would just end up calling her mom.”
Once the season ended, Robertson got a day off and then changed from her basketball jersey to a softball one.
“Makenzie approached me about coming over after basketball, asking if we needed a base runner she’d like to keep playing,” Baylor softball head coach Glenn Moore said. “She played in high school and won a state championship. We had kind of expected this to be a possibility. We had seen her enough to know that she knew what she was doing and of course we were open to it.”
Robertson’s first appearance in a game was pinch running in game one against Missouri on April 2. Mulkey was late for the game.
“I was running late for the game because Kramer, my son, was finishing up his baseball game and I couldn’t find the softball game on the radio and I was panicked because I couldn’t find it,” Mulkey said. “I actually parked in Judge [Ken] Starr’s parking spot. I just locked the car door, and I heard the announcement over the PA system, ‘And in pinch running, Makenzie Robertson.’ I took off in a dead sprint to get up the steps so I could see her. I was thinking to myself, has Glenn Moore lost his mind?”
Moore chuckles when he recalls the frantic Mulkey after the Missouri game.
“Typically, when she’s home and not recruiting, she’s sitting to the right of where I coach third base when Makenzie was in the seventh grade,” Moore said. “So to have her daughter on the team just makes it more special.”
He is still in the process of getting to know Robertson but likes what he sees so far.
“On the way back from Kansas on the bus she was encouraged with a strong arm to sing in front of the team. We got rid of that shell I think. She’s enhanced that [chemistry]. She’s a neat kid and she’s definitely enhancing the Baylor softball program.”
Robertson recorded her first career at-bat against UTSA on March 20, grounding out in the sixth inning of a 5-0 win.