All anyone at Baylor has been talking about since Sunday evening is the Lady Bears’ nail-biting 82 to 81 victory over Notre Dame to clinch the national title.
Thousands of Bears tuned in to witness the big win, and just as we all bowed our heads in a silent prayer when junior forward Lauren Cox went down with an injury, we also all sic ’em-ed (yes, it’s a verb now) when senior guard Chloe Jackson hit that game-winning layup with five seconds left on the clock.
While every single player on that team deserved this win, and every student and alumnus who has called Baylor home needed this win, we want to highlight the woman who made it all possible and tell her that no matter what anyone says, we’ve got her back. Head coach Kim Mulkey, this editorial is for you.
Mulkey’s dedication and loyalty to her players is second-to-none. On the court, she’s fiery and feisty, and you can bet she’ll be the first one to yell at a referee when an unfair call is made against one of her girls. She is usually seen pacing up and down the length of the court, agonizing over every point while rocking six-inch heels.
Off the court, Mulkey’s commitment to her team is no different. She will always stand up for her players in a press conference, and makes sure that if something critical needs to be said, it comes directly from her, and not from the media or another team or coach.
After every win, Mulkey’s first thought is to find her grandson and hold him tightly in celebration, demonstrating that her loyalty is not only to her team, but also to her family.
It’s hard to argue that the national championship winning, AP Coach of the Year is doing absolutely everything right, and there are critics of Mulkey and her coaching style. People from other schools or from media outlets have taken to Twitter and other platforms to comment on her clothing or her attitude, particularly before the Lady Bears matchup against Iowa University in the Elite Eight last weekend.
Some comments have even gone so far as to relate the women’s basketball program to the sexual assault scandal from 2016 that resulted in major changes to the Baylor football program, lumping all of Baylor athletics into one group.
In regards to this backlash, we would just like to say that we appreciate that Mulkey can be critical of her girls at times — we expect nothing less from someone who has been coaching for as long as she has. We admire that she stands up for herself and her team, and know that she would never speak ill of a player for another school, because that’s not her job, that’s their coach’s job.
As for the comments about Baylor not being deserving of the win because of its tumultuous last few years, that is absurd. The individuals responsible for the scandal have been released from the school or are being dealt with, and the rest of the school and its alumni deserve a chance to move past the incidents once and for all.
Also, anyone commenting on Mulkey’s attire during games is just looking for something to be angry about. Celebrated golfer Tiger Woods wore red every Sunday he competed, not only because it was a power color, but also because it has the chance to distract his opponents. Mulkey knows what she’s doing when she wears a bright blue pantsuit courtside, and we trust her completely.
Thank you for bringing your fiery spirit to Baylor, Mama Bear Mulkey. Your passion for your sport, your players and your family does not go unnoticed.