By Pranay Malempati | Sports Writer, Video by Drake Toll | Broadcast Managing Editor
Baylor head coach Kim Mulkey was selected to the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame on Saturday for the 2020 class.
Mulkey has three national championships as the Lady Bears head coach and remains the only person to win an NCAA national championship as a player, assistant coach and head coach.
Mulkey said that when she looks back at her journey towards reaching the pinnacle of basketball, she thinks of every player she has coached.
“It’s not just the kids who are All-Americans,” Mulkey said. “I can tell you so many wonderful stories about role-players and players who accepted me as their coach even when I might not have been a very good coach back then. They are responsible for any recognition, any Hall of Fame that you receive as a coach.”
Mulkey’s three national championships came in 2005, 2012, and 2019 and has combined for 20 Big 12 regular season and tournament championships. Mulkey has also won seven national coach of the year awards as well as seven Big 12 coach of the year awards.
Earlier this season, Mulkey became the fastest NCAA head coach, in either men’s or women’s basketball, to reach the 600-win milestone.
Mulkey said that her championships are the most memorable times because “championships are what you play for,” but she also said there are other key moments in her basketball journey that mean a lot to her.
“I remember the first top-ranked team we beat,” Mulkey said. “I remember when we won 15 games and realized we couldn’t have a losing season. I remember all of those kind of things that were building blocks to building what we are enjoying today.”
Mulkey is part of a star-studded class which also includes the late Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant, San Antonio Spurs legend Tim Duncan, Timberwolves/Celtics legend Kevin Garnett, former Oklahoma State men’s head coach Eddie Sutton, former Houston Rockets head coach Rudy Tomjanovich, WNBA legend Tamika Catchings, former NCAA women’s basketball head coach Barbara Stevens and FIBA executive Patrick Baumann.
Mulkey said that she is honored to be part of such an “unbelievable class,” especially with Bryant, Duncan, and Garnett.
“I watched them,” Mulkey said. “Those three guys, they’ll go down in the history of the NBA as three of the greatest ever. And to put them in, in the same class, that’s pretty special.”
Mulkey said that she has been celebrating her selection but that the moment is bittersweet because of the unique COVID-19 situation the country is in right now.
“I want to smile,” Mulkey said, “and I am smiling. I want to be happy and I am happy. But at the same time, I want to also keep perspective right now. Let’s all do our part. Let’s all get this world back on track and our country back on track.”